Alabama Man Battles Town Over Right to Keep Wife’s Remains Buried in Front Yard of Home
An elderly Alabama widower is doing battle with local officials over his right to keep his late wife's remains buried in the front yard of his home.
James Davis, 73, of Stevenson, lost wife Patsy Ruth Davis in 2009. She was buried at home, per her wishes. Despite the fact that the health department confirmed that burial plots are allowed on private property, state officials want Mrs. Davis disinterred since the property is situated on a main road through the center of town. The battle is now headed to the appellate court.
The burial plot is not a health issue and Davis has decorated it in lovely fashion with flowers. Still, city officials are concerned about setting a precedent by allowing a grave on a residential lot on a main road. The officials claim state law does give them some control over where the dead are buried. Issues like long-term care, appearance, property values and the complaints of some neighbors are at the heart of this matter.
"We're not in the 1800s any longer," said city attorney Parker Edmiston. "We’re not talking about a homestead. Mr. Davis lives in downtown Stevenson."
"Good Lord, they've raised pigs in their yard, there's horses out the road here in a corral in the city limits, they've got other grave sites here all over the place. And there shouldn't have been a problem."