February 22, 2002 at 6:11 PM EST - Updated July 26 at 11:00 PM
AKRON, Ohio (AP) - Two funeral directors must serve license suspensions for cremating the body of an 86-year-old woman two years ago without the consent of her relatives.
The suspensions, issued Tuesday by the state's Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors, resolve a legal dispute between the board and the Dunn-Quigley-Ciriello & Carr Funeral Home.
Lawyers for the Akron mortuary had appealed the February 2001 suspensions to Summit County Common Pleas Court, where the parties reached a compromise.
The settlement calls for the license of funeral director Robert E. Shaw to be suspended for 30 days, as originally ordered. It reduces the suspension of funeral director Nick J. Ciriello from five days to three days and vacates an order that would have closed the funeral home for 30 days.
The regulatory board issued the suspensions after receiving a complaint from Mark C. Jones, a federal prosecutor in Flint, Mich.
Jones said his family had been horrified to learn that the funeral home had cremated the body of his great aunt, Esther D. Matthews, following her Feb. 2, 2000, death at an Akron nursing home.
Cremation, Jones wrote, was "a desecration of the body" that he and other family members "would never have approved."
Ohio law requires either the deceased's written stipulation that she wishes to be cremated or consent by her family. In Matthews' case, the funeral home relied on the oral consent of Donald W. Daniels, a Canton man who had befriended Matthews.
Daniels has filed a civil lawsuit against Protective Life Insurance Co. and Jones' sister, Juanita Morgan. The suit asks the court to declare that Matthews wished to be cremated and to name Daniels the beneficiary of Matthews' $4,000 life insurance policy.
(Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)