Widow searches for missing bench at Restland Cemetery

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by MARIE SAAVEDRA

Bio | Email | Follow: @MSaavedraTV

WFAA

Posted on February 12, 2014 at 10:05 PM

Updated Wednesday, Feb 12 at 10:42 PM

DALLAS — Theresa Kelsay of Plano lost her husband Paul at just 52 years old. Spine cancer cut his life short, but for the rest of hers, she wanted his place of eternal rest to be perfect.

"It was so beautiful. The lake and quiet... just something about it," said Kelsay. "That was the spot."

That spot is by Mirror Lake at Restland Cemetery in Dallas. When she bought the plot for her and her husband, she was inspired to add to it.

"I had noticed benches around," Kelsay said. "There were a couple of old ones there, and I had suggested to the lady that had my account, 'Is there any way they could put one there?'"

It was 1993, and Kelsay said she bought a bench for $300. It didn't bear their name, but it was placed right next to the plot.

"She’d sit on the bench, say a rosary, her prayers, and cry... every day she would go," said her daughter, Dawn Head.

Kelsay still goes often, which is why this past November she knew immediately her spot had changed.

"I looked and I didn’t see my bench, and I thought, 'Am I in the wrong place?'" Kelsay said.

It was gone, and a new bench — with a different name facing another direction — was in its place.

"Oh man, I was upset," Kelsay said. "I just walked back to my car and went up to the office. He came over with me and said, 'Oh, I don’t know what happened to your bench, and we’re going to investigate and find out.'"

She said she never heard back from the staff at Restland, so she tried again at Christmas. She said she spoke with a different Restland representative.

"He said he would look into it... didn’t hear a thing from him," Kelsay said.

As of this Monday, there had still been no word, so News 8 went out to Restland with Kelsay and her daughter.

At the funeral home, we met with Restland’s executive director Michael Wilfong. He did not want to comment on camera, but he told Kelsay what she’d been waiting three months to hear.

"He said they would make sure that it was going to be there, and they would just have to move that other bench. It was obviously a mistake on their part, and he was very apologetic," Kelsay said.

He promised a new bench, with Kelsay's name on it. She has scheduled to meet with Restland on Thursday to pick it out.

This is the ending Theresa Kelsay had hoped for, so that she and her family can once again sit and remember her husband, just as she had planned.

E-mail msaavedra@wfaa.com

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