A deceased Alabama woman, Patsy Davis, has lost her dying wish and was dug from her grave. She wanted to be buried in the front yard of her home of 40 years. That was her final desire and it was taken from her on Friday, after her husband James failed to win a long court battle which would have allowed her remains to stay there.
James Davis, age 74, stated that he had assured his wife he would bury her outside their log house which is located in northeastern Alabama. Patsy passed away back in April of 2009, but the Stevenson City Council prohibited James Davis’ request to obtain a cemetery permit for his front yard. Nevertheless he buried his wife only a couple of feet away from their front porch anyhow.
By doing so, James Davis caused shock and surprise to the Alabama town with the presence of a grave-site set up on one of Stevenson’s two major road ways. It was made complete with a gravestone and a variety of flowers. Everyone was not pleased, especially the city of Stevenson, AL itself.
David endured a lengthy battle with the town that ended up lasting over four years. It caused the Alabama city to bring a suit against him which James ultimately lost. He then finally agreed to have Patsy’s body dug up on Friday.
The reasoning behind the legal battle was even though the Health Department for the city had approved Patsy’s grave from a sanitary perspective, the Stevenson City Council had stated for years that the grave caused properties around the home to decrease in value, many complaints were received from citizens and trepidation over who would care for Patsy’s grave after James passed away himself.
A daughter of James and Patsy was sobbing as she watched the vault containing her mother’s remains come out of the ground. Davis himself was silent as the event unfolded. Other family members, the town’s sheriff and one of its deputies were also present at the scene.
The Alabama widower said the exhumation of his wife’s body was nothing but a travesty. He also stated that it never should have occurred because he did not break any sort of law.
A neighbor stood in her own yard and also watched the vault being lifted into the air. She exclaimed that she was extremely sorry for the Davis family and understood what they were going through. She said she had lost her mother and would hate to think about her being dug up. But she added that her own parent had been placed in a cemetery.
Davis, who had been married to his wife for almost 50 years, stated that he was going to go ahead and have Patsy’s remains cremated and keep them with him inside their Alabama home.
However, James has not yet agreed to remove Patsy’s tombstone from outside. There is also a town ordinance which forbids residents from keeping such markers around their houses.
Parker Edmiston, who is an attorney for the city of Stevenson, stated that the gravestone issue was a matter to be faced on some other day. Patsy Davis has already been dug from her front yard grave, the stone is of little concern now.
By Kimberly Ruble
The Washington Post