Lawyer: Man wrongfully cremated at Macon funeral home

Cremation was not the end Joseph Thomas would have wanted for his earthly remains, his family said Monday.

Thomas, who died April 12 at age 86, was a pastor and wanted a casket burial due to religious beliefs. Instead, he was cremated at Bentley & Sons Funeral Home, said David Dorer, the family’s attorney.

“Bentley & Sons made a mistake, and they accidentally cremated him,” Dorer said. Thomas’ funeral was Saturday.

Representatives for Bentley & Sons could not immediately be reached for comment.

Dorer and Thomas’ children are in negotiations with Bentley & Sons Funeral Home’s insurance company for a claim of “tortious interference with burial rights,” according to the attorney.

“The claim essentially rises out of common law in Georgia that recognizes there is a distinct and different circumstance when you contract to deal with the body of a loved one,” Dorer said.

When two parties enter a contract for a service, both sides are expected to uphold their end of that contract. In many situations, a mistake can be corrected, but that isn’t the case for the Thomas family.

“The issue is that nothing can be done at that point,” Dorer said. “When a mistake like that is made, it can’t be undone.”

Dorer declined to go into detail about the status of any negotiations with the funeral home, but he said the process is ongoing.

To contact writer Jeremy Timmerman, call 744-4331.