Family has grave concerns after body and casket moved

By: Doug Korstanje
By: Doug Korstanje

When a man from Huntington died more than a year ago, he likely never imagined his burial site would spark a bitter feud between his estranged wife and his family members. The fight escalated when Terry Bowling's wife moved his body to a new grave site. Terry Boling died of a drug overdose in the midst of a bitter divorce just over a year ago. Even though Terry was close to a final divorce, his soon to be ex-wife Lynn Boling had control of funeral arrangements. Lynn paid for the burial in her family plot at Spring Valley Memory Gardens in Wayne County. But Terry's three sisters say Lynn wouldn't allow a headstone or flowers on Terry’s grave. That sparked a year-long feud. And then two weeks ago Lynn Boling paid to move Terry’s body and casket to an unmarked grave on a steep hillside. The sisters say Lynn tried to keep the new location a secret. They say only the threat of legal action forced the cemetery to reveal the new grave. Lynn Boling would not go on camera to explain her side and the cemetery also refused comment. But Lynn told Newschannel Three over the telephone she believes someone in Terry's family vandalized her father's grave, so that's why she moved Terry. She told us she’s now considering a cremation for Terry’s remains. Terrry’s sisters are outraged that his body may be moved again or turned in to ashes.

Newschannel Three asked the experts about this topic to help others avoid this type of dispute. The West Virginia Board of Funeral Service Examiners recommends the following steps:

--Put your funeral wishes in a will, a pre-need funeral contract or a medicalpower-of-attorney. You can also write everything on a piece of paper and have the document notarized.
--If it can't be settled, you should go to the circuit court to protect your rights.
--You can also verbally express what you want to happen. Written proof is better, but your spoken word will stand up in court if there are witnesses.
--If the dispute happens immediately upon death, go as soon as possible to circuit court to file an action. The court will often issue an emergency order to preserve rights for the person who should be in charge of funeral arrangements.

WSAZ NewsChannel 3 645 Fifth Avenue Huntington, WV 25701 304-697-4780 WSAZ Charleston 111 Columbia Avenue Charleston, WV 25302 304-344-3521
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