LACEY, Wash. - Losing his wife of 60 years was like a “kick in the head” for Dick Chrapczynski.
As for dealing with what’s happened afterwards? He said that’s like being “stepped on.”
Chrapczynski was given the wrong set of human remains after his wife was cremated by Woodlawn Funeral Home and Cemetery in Lacey.
“Nothing’s going to heal how I felt and how I feel right now,” said Chrapczynski.
His 86-year-old wife, Liz Chrapczynski, died last month after a long illness. Her funeral was held on what would have been their 61st wedding anniversary.
A few days after Chrapczynski took home what he thought were his wife’s remains, he got a call from the funeral home.
“She wanted to come out and inspect the urn,” he said.
When he said no, Chrapczynski said they called back the next day and admitted they had given him someone else’s remains.
In a written statement, Woodlawn’s owner, Tim Burgman, said the employee responsible for the mistake, has been fired.
“This is a very serious situation and has not been taken lightly,” said Burgman, who said he reported the incident to the Washington State Funeral and Cemetery Board.
Chrapczynski now has Liz's remains, but he says that has not made things right. The family has filed a complaint against the still-employed funeral director, claiming she misled them.
The state will only confirm it's investigating the incident; however, we learned the person named in the Lacey complaint had her license suspended and was fined by the state last year for a similar incident at the New Tacoma Cemeteries and Funeral Home.
The state fined the home for "unprofessional" conduct after investigators said the embalmer, now in Lacey, "dressed, casketed and buried the remains of the wrong" person and lied to their family about it.
A spokesperson for the Lacey funeral home said their director did not try to mislead the family. The funeral home says their director made sure the family found out as soon as possible about the mistake.