Akron woman's ashes found after lost in mail

Akron woman's ashes found after lost in mail

AKRON, OH (WOIO) - Good news for an Akron family after an important package got lost in the mail. Family members were left wondering where their loved one's ashes were after they were never delivered to the funeral home.

Catherine Stermock was the angel of her family and now she is their angel in heaven. The 81-year-old died on Nov. 19. Even now, family members say she would be trying to calm them down. 

"Mom would probably say, 'Don't worry. I'm OK.' Because I know where she is at and she knows where she is at," said daughter Kimberly Phillips.

While her spirit is in heaven, her ashes that were once lost somewhere in northeast Ohio have now been recovered. Phillips says her mother's ashes were sent to Philadelphia on Monday and are finally on their way to Bethlehem, PA.

Last Friday, Phillips mailed her mother's remains express to Pennsylvania from the Wedgewood office in Akron, where they were to be buried in a family plot. The ashes were placed in a box, then in a large envelope. The post office stamped it "human remains," but the package never made it. 

The funeral is planned for Wednesday. If the funeral home in Pennsylvania didn't receive the remains by Tuesday, they would have had to have postponed the burial. 

Phillips says she had no idea where her mom was. 

"Everyone in Pennsylvania, Akron and Cleveland are all looking for a box with my mother's remains," said Phillips. 

The post office said they were aggressively searching for Stermock's remains and were confident they would be found. USPS says they are being delivered to the funeral home on Tuesday.

USPS released the following statement:

"We've extended our heartfelt apologies to the family for the delay in delivery, and we are reviewing our process to ensure adherence to proper protocols."

Phillips said her family would not have celebrated Christmas without a proper burial for her mother. Her father, brother, along with the entire family, believed that since her ashes were headed to Bethlehem, PA, a Christmas miracle could be coming their way. 

"Our Christmas is going to be for my mom to be buried, where she wanted to be," said Phillips. 

Thankfully, the "miracle" did happen and funeral services are expected to go on as planned.

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