Hundreds finally laid to rest

Hundreds finally laid to rest »Play Video
Walla Walla, Wash. -- KEPR has covered the issue for years. Hundreds of people left in limbo after their cremated remains were never claimed by family members.

Boxes of their ashes lined the shelves at the Walla Walla Coroner for decades, but now, they've all got a final resting place.

Walla Walla Coroner Richard Greenwood inherited a painstaking task when he took his job.

"It's been two and a half years for me, it's probably been about four or five years for the previous coroner," Greenwood says.

The Walla Walla Coroner's Officer held hundreds of boxes of cremated remains. All from people who had never been claimed by their next of kin.

Richard and his assistant spent thousands of hours trying to track some of those families down.

"Some of these cremains date back to the 40s. They've been on the shelf since the 40s, so it's been a long time coming," he says.

So it was with a tender heart, his work was rewarded with the dedication of this new public crypt at Mountain View Cemetery.

The names of every person interred here were memorialized at the start of the ceremony. Prayers from a handful of different religious leaders were said and sung as a tribute.

Judy Piper came to remember a family friend who never had a family of his own.

"Mac didn't have a family. He was born and raised in Pomeroy, but as far as family members, we never saw anyone come and visit him," she says.

Judy spoke on Mac's behalf.

"He told me to put him in the chimney of the barber shop and I decided that that wasn't the best thing to do, so we've just been waiting for something like this to happen," she says.

Richard is happy to see his work finally come to fruition.

"I was surprised how good it feels today to come to a successful climax," he says.

Now those who were lost -- will never be forgotten.