I would like to give the Tulare Public Cemetery County Council and Board Members the opportunity to accept this letter as my official complaint and to take the appropriate action to clear things up regarding the recent funeral of my father (Ildebrando Almeida) on June 24, 2022 to fix.
My family and I have been respected citizens and homeowners in the city of Tulare for over 40 years and still counting. I have also been a current business owner in the city of Tulare for over 25 years. I have both of my grandparents buried in Tulare Public Cemetery (two separate lots) and we recently retired my father, Ildebrando Almeida. We bought another plot of land for my current mother, Almerinda Almeida.
As a proud home and business owner in the City of Tulare, I am embarrassed, disgusted, and appalled to even consider our Tulare Public Cemetery a part of our community due to the neglect and shameful efforts to improve conditions on the cemetery grounds.
The cemetery was notified a week in advance and confirmed the date and time of our funeral service. If you know that we were supposed to be there that day, you would think that your caretaker of the cemetery grounds along with his ground keepers would be experienced and adept at providing a respectful, intimate service and treating our family with care and consideration in a dignified and to support a pleasant atmosphere and care for the cemetery complex. But instead, our family and guests experienced exactly the opposite.
- The condition of the tomb where the ceremony took place was undignified. The headstone was dirty, branches were not removed (we had to remove them ourselves) and long weeds grew over my father and mother’s headstone. The surrounding tombstones on which the ceremony took place were also all in poor condition. It wasn’t a pleasant atmosphere.
- Near the burial site was a broken tombstone that was laid unsecured on the ground next to where all our family and guests sat and stood. Many of us including myself had to walk around it. It was definitely a hazard and whoever put it there was very thoughtless and irresponsible.
- We were told a canopy would be provided and that this was part of the funeral fees. But no canopy was provided. When we asked the local groundsman after the funeral service why no canopy, his reply was because they used the tree for shade instead. Unbelievable!
- There were holes all over the grass where you had to balance each time you took a step (non gopher related holes). Our elderly family and guests had to be helped to and from their cars for fear of falling and injuring themselves. Also, all eight (8) pallbearers told me that they were nervous that they would lose their balance and accidentally drop the coffin because they had such difficulty walking on the grass due to the bumps.
After the funeral service we left the cemetery to bury the coffin. Our family Later that evening we returned to pay our respects and we noted with disbelief the disrespectful state of my father’s grave.
- The handling of the tomb was unprofessional and careless. There was only a heap of earth over the grave. It had not been leveled and there were sunken footprints on the ground. It was evident that there was no attempt to use any machines to level the dirt, or any attempt to level the dirt before the flowers (4 easel flower arrangements, 1 coffin flower arrangement and 2 vases with flower arrangements) were carelessly were thrown over it tomb and destroyed. Some of the flowers were buried a few inches underground. It was an absolute shame!
Tulare Public Cemetery must be held accountable for failing to fulfill its mission to provide respectful intimate service and to support our family with care and consideration in a dignified and comfortable atmosphere in our community where they serve in the district and maintain the cemetery grounds. Therefore, I am seeking a full refund for the cemetery funeral services we paid for, totaling $3,104.25 (receipt attached), as well as a full refund for the destroyed flowers, totaling $1,599.86 (2 receipts attached). Our family didn’t think it appropriate to ask for a receipt from our guests who bought the flower vases. But I will do it if necessary. The estimated total purchase price for these 2 flower vases is $300. I look forward to receiving feedback on the resolution of this matter from Tulare Public Cemetery Management and/or Board members within 10 business days. If I do not hear back or the issue is not resolved in a timely manner, I will file an official complaint with the California Cemetery and Funeral Bureau and will also consider taking legal action.
CC: Tulare Public Cemetery Board Members
- James Pennington
- Carlo Ramos
- Stephen Present
- Xavier Avila
- Alberto Aguilar