Family plans to take action against local funeral home

A Mid-South woman plans to take action against Forest Hill Cemetery. It's the latest devlopment in the cemetary controversy affecting thousands of Mid-Southerners.

Dana Grissom's parents pre-paid for matching plots at Forest Hill in 1973. Her father is already buried there, but now her mother is worried the scandal will keep them apart, and she's ready to sue.

Grissom first heard the news Monday, when the owner of Forest Hill Funeral Homes told Grissom the burial package her parents bought in the 1970's wouldn't cover its costs.

It's heartbreaking for Grissom's mother, 77 year-old Perla Pirtle.

"I'm hurt," Pirtle said. "I'm deeply hurt over it."

Pirtle and her husband bought two matching plots 33 years ago, pre-paying about $900 each. Now Pirtle's husband is buried there, and the funeral home is telling her she'll need to come up with $3,000 for them to honor her pre-payment.

"I want to be buried by my husband," Pirtle said. "That's out there."

"I don't have $3,000 in the bank," Grissom said. "My sister's unemployed. (She) doesn't have $3,000 in the bank."

That's why daughter Dana Grissom is building a list. Already 20 families have made contact with her and have expressed interest in a class-action lawsuit. The funeral home's owner is already under investigation by attorneys general in Tennessee and Michigan over allegations that he used funeral funds for private ventures. But Grissom and her mother aren't waiting for state help.

"They're not there to help us," Grissom said. "They're there to investigate his business practices. They're there to investigate a fraud that's happening right now."

Grissom said her family is determined to get what they paid for. More than 13,000 people so far have been told they'll have to pay more.

If you are interested in making contact with Dana Grissom, you can email her at