ELK CITY, Okla. (KFOR) – A family in Elk City can finally put their loved one to rest after a complication with a payment that had the funeral home they used holding onto his ashes.
“If I were in front of him right now, I would tell him how much I love him and thank him for pushing me so hard,” said Kayden Gowdy who picked up his father Barry Gowdy’s ashes earlier in the week.
Barry died in late 2020 due to Covid-19 and the family said they had to have him cremated in 2021.
Payments totaling around $1,500 were given to the funeral home, but they said more was needed. That more ended up totaling nearly $1,500—money that daughter Sherreea Crossland said they didn’t have.
In an interview the previous week, Crossland reached out to KFOR for help. She said she had offered to come up and pay the rest, but claimed that the funeral home wasn’t going to.
KFOR reached out to the funeral home involved who repeatedly said they did work with her and would hand over the ashes once full payment was made. It was this week when Kayden said he finally picked up the check and the ashes.
“I was sort of nervous but I was also really excited,” said Kayden. “We went and picked him up from the funeral home thanks to you all getting the word out and now we’re going to bury or scatter him next to his brother this weekend.”
Barry Gowdy was a fixture in the Elk City, Oklahoma, community. Years ago, Gowdy had his own ambulance and would be called to help people. He soon after became a nurse and remained a nurse until his death.
Kayden started his freshman year at Southwestern Oklahoma State University a few weeks ago. His father died when he was still a few years away from graduating high school in Carnegie.
“My last memory I had with him was going out fishing near the lake in Elk City,” said Kayden. “He would be proud if he saw me now. He was wanting me to finish college and now I’m aiming for a degree in entrepreneurship.”
He said that he and his family will take part in a burial of Barry over the weekend in Elk City.
As to it being illegal to withhold the cremated remains, the Oklahoma Funeral Board stated that the law is focused specifically on the fact that funeral homes aren’t allowed to withhold physical bodies.
There isn’t a specific rule stating that cremated remains cannot be held until payment is made. However, the board takes each complaint on an individual basis to determine what should happen next.The Oklahoma Funeral Board