FARGO – A Crookston, Minn., woman is suing a cemetery here for the cost of her ex-husband's crypt after she claims cemetery officials allowed his remains to be removed from it without telling her, more than a year and a half after his death.
Mary Solberg said her ex in-laws informed her via a brief note on June 17 that they'd had her ex-husband David "Toby" Solberg removed, two days before, from where he'd lain at Riverside Cemetery since his death in September 2013.
Their late brother's remains were now at the cemetery in Erskine, Minn., the note said, where his parents are buried.
"Tears and disbelief," Solberg recalls. "Replaced by anger."
Mary Solberg said she and Toby Solberg divorced in 1989 but stayed best of friends, picking out side-by-side crypts together in 2010.
She wrote out the check, she said, since Toby had paid for some other items recently for the two of them.
He had been squeamish about having his remains lie in the ground, she said, so choosing a side-by-side crypt at Riverside, where her parents are interred, seemed like a good idea.
"He didn't like the idea of worms crawling in and out of [his] coffin," she said. "I thought everything was settled. He was buried."
Mary Solberg said she had hired attorneys to look into possibly bringing Toby's remains back to Riverside, but they found since he had specified nothing about his burial wishes in his will, she didn't have any legal rights.
She's accepted that, she said.
"I've given up on getting Toby back," she said.
But Mary Solberg does want a judge to weigh in on the issue of the $2,400 she paid for the crypt that has Toby's name on it. She believes she should be reimbursed for the cost.
Tom Schafer, manager of the Riverside Cemetery Association, said he would not comment on the small-claims lawsuit filed last week in Cass County District Court, having not yet seen the details alleged in it.
Toby Solberg's siblings could not be reached for comment.