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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Grave Injustice at Memory Gardens

Skulls, femurs, jaws and ribs.
Artificial hips and knees, valves and pins, dental retainers.
This is what we saw in the big open pits overflowing with human bones in our local cemetery, "Memory Gardens".
This has been one memory I just can't shake.

Who were these people and what are their stories?
I don't suppose we will ever know.
One thing is certain, they deserved better than this.

These people donated their bodies to medical research, and ended up in the slimy hands of
Paul Parker: mortician, and creator of this atrocity.

Parker claims he was contracted to cremate and dispose of the bodies of medical donors.
On the most basic level, Parker didn't do his job.
First of all, cremation means pulverizing to dust, which he clearly did not do.
Second of all, I seriously doubt backing a dump truck into open pits not 50 feet from gravesites would be considered proper disposal.
But guess what... he just might get away with this!
Mr. Parker's wife, who wonders why we are making such a big deal over these pits, calls this abomination a "Scatter Garden".

A "Scatter Garden" is a walled-in garden where people scatter the ashes of their loved ones.
Benches, fountains, and flowers are all a part of a quiet, contemplative scenery.
"Memory Gardens" on the other hand, is an ill-kempt, overgrown and pathetic excuse for a cemetery, even without the huge pits of human bones.

Last week, we returned to "Memory Gardens" to see what Parker has been up to.
He's bull-dozed dirt over the pits, but left bones everywhere.
There's bones sticking out of the dirt, bones in the trees, bones scattered in every direction.

We searched furthur, and found additional older, open pits.
These pits never made the news.

I don't believe that it is legal to throw even household garbage away in this manner.
I sent a letter of concern to the "Arizona Funeral Board of Funeral Directors and Embalmers" and was relieved to find they are as horrified as we are.
Thankfully, they are begining a criminal investigation against Parker.

On behalf of all these people who donated their bodies to science only to end up disresespected in this manner, we need to speak out in any way we we can.
We cannot let the Parkers get away with this!

Photos by Jennifer Cilch and Gretchen Baer


  1. Wow. I'm speechless. Thank you for sharing this, although it's visually disturbing. It's incredible how much standards of right & wrong vary between humans.

  2. I'm upstate with Eliza, and she was just telling me about this, I didn't even know. Wow, this is too horrific! Where is this damn "garden", anyway???

  3. Good work and nice blog. I had a blogspot blog but forgot my password and haven't been able to access the thing for a year or so.It's called Old Paint (i think).

  4. Wow, Gretchen- I applaud you for following up on this and reporting it to the, hopefully, proper authorities. It's atrocious behavior, and this guy (and his wife, who apparently also doesn't get it) should be sent to jail and fined!

  5. This is a haunting and disturbing event. What standards exist in the funeral industry, prescribing cremation and disposal of matter??? Difficult to imagine that any were fulfilled by this yahoo.

  6. This man definitely did not do the job his was paid to do. "The Funeral Board of Funeral Directors and Embalmers" are horrified by his actions too. The Bisbee police said no crime was committed. But if this barbaric act isn't concidered a crime, we are really in trouble.

  7. Who knows what horrors lie just behind bushes in the familiar landscapes we pass each day. An echo of a greater systemic disrespect for human life that is screaming all over the planet.

  8. I am one of those family members who had a loved one donated for science research through Lifelegacy four years ago. I am very concerned that although my loved one's remains was returned to me, I can't help but to question if in fact they were? I am searching the internet trying to find if there are other families questioning the same and is there any legal action being taken on behalf of all the effected/concerned families who have ever had a loved one donated to Lifelegacy and/or cremated by Mr. Parkers crematory???

  9. thanks gretchen...i am speachless !!!!! this story should be on mainstreem national news so laws can be passed to protect the desceased!!!!!!!!!!!i wonder what mr parker's explanation for the lack of any moral values !!!!! he should be imprisoned for life like the people for commiting war crimes....there must be serial #s on the metal parts so maybe they can get some info that way??? i pray for the souls of all dead beings !!!!!!!