‘I’m just plain disgusted with the mail service’: Akron woman’s ashes lost in mail

AKRON –It was the dying wish of 81-year-old Catherine Stermock of Akron that she be cremated and that her remains be buried in Pennsylvania next to her mother, father and sister.

Her daughter, Kimberly Phillips, told Fox 8, “she’s missed her family, my mom has always been about family, grandchildren, her kids, she’s always given of herself before anybody else.”

Acting on directions from employees at the U.S. Postal Service’s Ellet Station, Catherine Stermock’s daughter says she placed her mother’s cremains in a priority mail express package that was mailed on Friday and was told they would arrive at a funeral home in Bethlehem, PA on Saturday, but the parcel never made it.

Read more: ‘I’m just plain disgusted with the mail service': Akron woman’s ashes lost in mail | fox8.com.

  • IIlIIl111

    This is about the 3rd or 4th story of “ashes getting lost in the mail” that I have read this year. If time is SO important, doesn’t anyone think about EXPRESS MAIL. Or how about TRACKING on the package?? You only ever hear about the few that got lost………………….nothing about the 10’s of thousands that were delivered correctly and on time…………………

  • RouteAbolished

    The video says it was mailed priority mail express and they talk about TRACKING the package several times. No wonder this has happened several times!

  • Retired Mailman

    Cremated ashes are supposed to be mailed by Registered Mail. There is no machinery involved and everyone who handles it, has to sign for it. No chance of it getting lost.

  • Retired Mailman

    Haven’t you heard that the USPS has renamed Express Mail to Priority Express Mail. Of course, since PEM is more expensive than Registered Mail, window clerks will push PEM to boost their revenue quota.

  • Reality Check

    “Woman waits until absolute last minute to ship family member’s
    remains and blames the PO when her procrastination ruins
    the funeral”.

    Really? A funeral is on Saturday and you don’t ship the remains until Friday?

    What, it was a surprise funeral and they called you Thursday night and asked for the remains?

    1. Cremated remains must be shipped via Priority Mail Express. They can no longer be shipped via registered mail. That changed in 2014

    2. A huge number of factors can impact one day delivery this time of year, from weather to airlift capacity to road closures.

    3. Was there anyone at the funeral home to receive the package? Do they normally get delivery on Saturdays?

    The only issue on the postal side is that the window clerk didn’t tell
    the woman that the only way to be absolutely sure they got there
    Saturday was to drive them herself, because there are way too many variables to be certain and all that’s guaranteed is the postage.

    I can guarantee that she’ll be getting that refund at the same time she’s screaming at everyone at her Post Office because the “teleporters” weren’t working that day.

  • ben franklin

    Yeah, I’m sure this poor woman did this just to piss you off. You’re one of those idiots who think your job is to berate customers who don’t follow the rules to the letter. Well guess what= this woman followed the rules, and the USPS didn’t keep its part of the bargain.

    1. This woman did as she was told, and shipped the ashes properly.

    2. She was TOLD her package would arrive the next day- she didn’t make that up. If your service guarantee says overnight delivery, then she has every right to expect overnight delivery. Save the BS about your “variables”- people pay us for SERVICE, not excuses.

    3. The circumstances that led her to mail the ashes on Friday are none of your damned business.

    4. There was no suggestion anywhere that the USPS delivery failure was due to the funeral home being closed on Saturday, so your question is irrelevant.

    I sure as hell hope that with your miserable attitude towards the people who pay our salaries that you don’t actually deal with our customers. With people like you on the payroll, it’s not surprising that the USPS screws up like this.

  • zippy452

    As information, the package was located and delivered in PA today, Tuesday 12-16-14.

  • Gregg Grubbs

    Amen Ben!!

  • Albert

    The ashes will be found. Chances are there were transportation delays involved. Almost every parcel is tracked now. I wonder if the daughter lost the tracking slip. This is distressing to all Postal Workers. I am sorry for your loss.

  • ben franklin

    No. According to Pub 139: “You must ship cremated remains using Priority Mail Express service.”


  • Foot in mouth detector

    Ummm… try reading the story first before commenting. The package was sent via EXPRESS MAIL, with TRACKING.

    It still got lost.

    Any more helpful suggestions?

  • ben franklin

    Ummm… might want to ask a grownup to explain what those words mean, little buddy. Not sure what is pompous about calling a spade a spade. And I don’t see any “assumptions” in my comment, which you haven’t really responded to.

    As I said, why she mailed the package on Friday is none of your damned business. Are you trying to tell us that USPS guarantees only apply when YOU happen to think the mailer is showing a sufficient sense of urgency? Do you ask customers “why didn’t you mail this yesterday?” before you allow them to purchase our services? Could you tell us where that regulation is in the DMM? I can’t find it.

    “Going to your local newspaper and making it 100% about the Postal Service” is appropriate when you have purchased a guaranteed service and the provider has failed to satisfy the guarantee. It IS 100% about the USPS, unless you can show us where the regulation is that states that no guarantees apply when you mail ashes on a Friday.

    And thanks for that show of class, calling the actions of a woman who has just lost her mother “lame ass behavior” You really are a worthless piece of filth, aren’t you? Thanks for providing that little bit of “context”.

  • jim

    to albert “the ashes will be found”.
    NOT always the case. i do appreciate you saying “this is distressing to all postal workers”.
    i had my loved one’s ashes mailed in august 2012, and they have NOT been found. i followed every single rule from the usps and the funeral home. distressing? you have no idea. i cry every day. even though i did exactly what i was told to do to get the ashes across the country, i failed. and i can not forgive myself, or the usps. for the record, my case is the first and only case where ashes were PROPERLY mailed according to all the regulations, and never to be found again. i have never received anything in writing from the usps regarding this horrible ordeal. i have never received a refund for the shipping costs or the urn. i have talked to several people at usps that have been heart warming and apologetic, but not from the top brass. nothing.