Snow affects even funeral arrangements Mourners housebound

graves can't be found

January 11, 1996|By Dan Thanh Dang | Dan Thanh Dang,SUN STAFF

The snow gives no rest, it seems, even for the dead -- preventing area cemeteries and funeral directors from conducting business us usual.

Snowbound mourners could not venture out to make arrangements, and graves that some had purchased could not be found under the deep white sea.

"Everybody is at a standstill," said Jerome Thompson, manager of March Funeral Home on Wabash Avenue in Baltimore. "You can't bury people, and you can't get the people here to hold services. Mother Nature has put a hold on everything."

Across the Baltimore area, funeral homes and cemeteries reported postponements and cancellations of services this week because of snow-related complications. For families, delays prolonged the grieving process.

"My father has never had very good timing," said John Craig Lurz of Lutherville, who was able to find a moment of levity after two painful weeks as his father, Louis A. Rouchard, suffered several strokes, then died Monday.

"My father was always late for Mass and church when we were little, so this is perfect. It's somewhat ironic," Mr. Lurz said.

Although he was just a five-minute drive away, Mr. Lurz said, he could not get to his father's bedside the day he died.

The snow caused other problems: Businesses were closed, so he could not find a florist. Road conditions delayed transportation for the remains. Snow had to be shoveled repeatedly to make his home ready for guests after today's services.

Buying food for the gathering was almost impossible after the attack on grocery shelves before and after the blizzard.

"Thank God for telephones," Mr. Lurz said. "Every little step became so difficult because of the weather. Since I was the only one who wasn't snowbound, it left a lot of the arrangements up to me and my wife. For me, it left very little time for sitting down and remembering, and for my siblings, it made them feel left out of the process. This has all been very difficult to deal with already, but what with the snow, it has made things even harder on everyone."

But it could have been worse. The Mass at St. Joseph Roman Catholic Church, in the county's Texas section, and interment at Dulaney Valley Memorial Gardens in Timonium will take place as planned today because workers were able to locate the grave -- a task that was complicated by drifts at the cemetery of 3 to 7 feet.

Other families could face a much longer wait. Although funeral directors were hoping to get back on track by early next week, another snowstorm was expected tomorrow.

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