Aiken County gave eight of its residents a pauper's burial last week at Calvary cemetery.
All of the deceased were identified, but for one reason or another were not claimed by their families. Coroner Tim Carlton said the coroner's office tries to locate family members to claim the deceased, and typically waits 30 days before cremating the bodies.
"These folks are from Aiken County and they deserve a proper burial," he said.
Mr. Carlton's predecessor as chief coroner, Sue Townsend, started the practice of giving formal burial to unclaimed bodies in the late 1990s, Mr. Carlton said.
"I think it's an important tradition that needs to be carried on," he said.
All of the deceased were cremated and their remains buried at the cemetery beneath granite headstones that bore their names.
A brief ceremony was held under a tree at a corner of the cemetery, a spot reserved for all of the county's unclaimed residents.
The Rev. John George, of Lakeside Baptist Church in Clearwater, gave a brief sermon during the ceremony. About 20 people attended, including some who knew the deceased.
Carrie Doyle showed up to pay respects to her former neighbor Flora Jackson, who died in a house fire last year.
"This was very nice," she said of the ceremony. "Flora was a very friendly person."
Chris and Traci Powers didn't know anyone who was laid to rest, but showed up with a bouquet of flowers to honor them.
"We're just here out of compassion," Mr. Powers said. "We thought it would be nice to pay respect."
Reach Josh Gelinas at (803) 648-1395, ext. 110 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
A PROPER BURIAL
The Aiken County coroner's office last week laid to rest the cremated remains of eight people who died between 2004 and 2006.
- Linda Lane - 1955-2004
- Thomas Gammon - 1960-2004
- Patrick Lawrence - 1956-2005
- Leonni Bowman - 1941-2005
- Isaac Alexander - 1932-2005
- Flora Jackson - 1952-2005
- Fernando Macias - 1933-2006
- Allen Dove - 1957-2006
Source: Aiken County coroner's office