RAYMOND — The town has located the gravesite of the late Howard Felch and will exhume the urn holding his remains in time for the family to bury him with his wife when she's laid to rest on Thursday.
"I'm relieved they found him and my family can have closure during this difficult time. My mother's dying wish was to be buried with my father," said son Peter Felch of Fremont.
The announcement came late Wednesday afternoon after Town Manager Craig Wheeler began investigating the whereabouts of Felch's lot in the New Pine Grove Cemetery.
The investigation was prompted by complaints from Felch's children who said they were told by the town's cemetery sexton last week that there was no record of his lot in the cemetery.
"We discovered all the paperwork, located the cemetery lot, communicated with the family and will have Mr. Felch's cremated remains for the family to be buried (Thursday)," Wheeler said Wednesday afternoon.
The gravesite dispute began after Felch's children contacted the cemetery sexton last Friday. They were making plans to bury their mother, Diane Felch, next to their father after she passed away Nov. 14, but were told that the town didn't have a record showing where he was buried after his death in 1994.
Some of Howard Felch's children visited the grave over the years, but had not been in recent years.
Diane Felch lived in Raymond for many years, but had spent the last 10 years in Berwick, Maine, with her daughter, Cheryl Denbow.At the time of Howard Felch's burial, a wooden cross was used in place of a headstone because his wife couldn't afford a stone when he died.
The cross vanished at some point, making it difficult for Felch's children to know the exact spot where his urn was buried.
But they remembered the general area.
Denbow and her brother, Nathan Felch of Sanford, Maine, returned to the cemetery Wednesday and found where they believed their father's remains were placed.
Nathan was 12 years old when his father died, and on the day of the burial, the grieving son spent the night at the cemetery.
"My mom reported me as a runaway, but I just slept here. I remember leaning up against that tree," he said as he pointed to the large tree across from the spot where he remembers his father's urn being buried.
After first being told that the town didn't know where their father was buried, Felch's children purchased a different lot to bury their mother during her funeral Thursday. They hoped to eventually find their father's urn and have it moved to their mother's grave.