TRINITY, N.C. — Gertha Kearns was a combination of tough and gentle, organized, and enthusiastic. Even at the age 94-years old, she was eager and excited to go to church every Sunday.
“She loved her church family more than anything and Reverend Plumber at First Baptist Church in Trinity,” granddaughter Greta Martin said.
Kearns lived a full life, and part of that was preparing for death. She had made plans for her funeral and burial well in advance by even picking out and paying for a headstone.
“When she passed, we went to the cemetery, and they told me she had already done everything,” Martin said.
A few months after her grandmother died, Martin called the cemetery to check in on the marker. Kearns ordered it several months before she died, but it was still not placed at the gravesite.
“They were giving me the run-around,” Martin said.
She told News 2 she continued to call and check-in for several months and didn't get an answer as to why the marker was not in. Martin said it was difficult for the family to visit the gravesite on special occasions because the marker didn't install.
“I felt (it was) insensitive. There was no sense of urgency when it came to my grandmother's passing,” Martin said.
After about nine months, Martin had enough and reached out to our Call for Action team. She was still not getting anywhere with the cemetery and would often not hear back after leaving messages for managers.
“It was always. We have new management, (there are) a lot of changes right now, so I don’t know who can talk, they [just] keep saying we will call you back,” Martin said.
Martin sent us an email explaining the situation, and we immediately contacted the cemetery. A few days later, we heard back from the general manager, and they promised to investigate the matter. It took a couple of weeks of calls and emails before they said they would quickly handle the issue.
“I think with me reaching out to you, they took more sense urgency and got it taken care of,” Martin said.
A few weeks later, they installed the marker at the gravesite.
The marker now sits right next to her husband Ira, who died in 2012.
“I just want to say, [give you a heartfelt] thank you, I appreciate everything you did for me,” Martin said.