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Families in Grief Embroiled in Another Family’s Feud

The Knollwood Memorial Park cemetery in Canton closed without warning, leaving families who had pre-arranged and pre-paid for services with nowhere to turn.

Shelly Bussard lost her battle with cancer June 23. When funeral directors tried to contact Knollwood Memorial Park, where the Bussards had pre-arranged for a graveside service, no one was there. (Screenshot: WDIV video)
Shelly Bussard lost her battle with cancer June 23. When funeral directors tried to contact Knollwood Memorial Park, where the Bussards had pre-arranged for a graveside service, no one was there. (Screenshot: WDIV video)

Families who have never heard of Sam Tacco and his grandfather and whatever it is that is tearing them apart are nevertheless experiencing the fallout of their feud – at a time when they’re dealing with crushing grief.

For some of them, it’s meant they can’t bury their loved ones in Canton’s Knollwood Memorial Park, which owner Sam Tacco reportedly closed without warning, WDIV, Channel 4, reports.

The TV station’s investigation showed the cemetery was sold by Tacco, who had purchased it from his grandfather, who later alleged fraud and the whole mess is tied up in court. A court has ruled that Tacco can’t operate the cemetery until everything is sorted out.

That’s little consolation for families like Dan and Donnie Bussard, who hoped to bury their daughter, Shelly, at a graveside service after she lost her battle with cancer on June 23.

They had pre-arranged the service, paying for everything from the lot to the opening and closing of grave plot to the vault from Knollwood. “At the last minute, we were finding out things,” Dan Bussard said. “We couldn’t properly bury our daughter.”

Desperate and grief stricken, they even called Canton police seeking help.

They finally were able to bury Shelly the day after her funeral, but the burial was far from the beautiful tribute the Bussards wanted for their daughter.

"We stood there and watched the tractors dig the hole, put her in it, cover it back up. 'OK, we'll see you,'" said Bonnie Bussard.

In a followup report, James Roll, Sam Tacco’s attorney, told  WDIV his client is trying to make things right.

"We were unaware there was nobody at the cemetery," Roll told the TV station. "The previous owner was to assist us in transferring the cemetery so customers were not affected at all. This didn't happen and I truly apologize for all the people who were affected by that."

The cemetery now has a working staff in place who is working with clients like the Bussards.

"We have a director who's here overseeing the grounds and burials and making sure the cemetery is running properly," Roll said.

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