News

New owner of midstate cemetery doesn't have license to bury people

Written by Ben Allen, General Assignment Reporter | Mar 1, 2016 4:19 AM
oaklawn_gardens1.jpg

Photo courtesy of Gary Lockman

(Gettysburg) -- A private cemetery in the midstate has a new owner.

But families and funeral directors are confused and frustrated because he doesn't have a license to bury people.

Ramesh Rao of Montgomery County now owns the land that houses Oak Lawn Memorial Gardens in Cumberland Township, Adams County, after buying it at a sheriff's sale in late January.

But Rao says he just wanted the property, and not the cemetery business.

Bill Monahan, funeral director at Monahan Funeral Homes, says he's never dealt with a situation like this.

"Somebody passes away and they want to be buried there, the family's up in the air. When can we schedule a funeral? How long is it going to take to have this resolved? All of those things that we kinda don't know anything about," says Monahan.

Monahan says he's asked for the Oak Lawn Memorial Garden cemetery's records, but hasn't received a response yet.

He adds: "What we're trying to determine at this point, and we have been in touch with the attorneys, are they honoring the committments that people who have purchased merchandise, prepaid for openings and graves, are all of those committments going to be honored?"

He places some blame on a state commission, because he says it should have anticipated an issue when the property sold January 29th.

Funeral directors across the county are scrambling for answers, but not getting much help.

Meanwhile, new owner Ramesh Rao - in a statement to the Gettsyburg Times - says he's looking for someone else to operate the cemetery business.

oaklawn_garderns2.jpg

Photo courtesy of Gary Lockman

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