Woman: Cemetery owner sensitive to needs

3 loved ones exhumed, buried again Wednesday

By Tarik Minor - Anchor, I-TEAM reporter

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A Jacksonville woman who had the remains of three loved ones exhumed at Restlawn Memorial Park on Wednesday is sharing her experience.

Her daughter, nephew and nephew's mother all had to be moved because the former owners buried them in the wrong location.

Eartha Grisette had nothing but good things to say about the cemetery, saying the new owner was sensitive to her needs, as three of her loved ones remains were buried again.

"He was like a godsend," she said. "He made me feel comfortable and assured me that everything was going to be taken care."

Grisette said what she thought was going to be an uncomfortable experience turned out to give her the closure she was in search of. She said Restlawn owner Mark Riposta provided her with genuine sincerity and a reassurance that the problems of the past were being fixed.

"The new direction of this cemetery is a gift to the community, a gift to the community," Grisette said.

She said her daughter, Octavia, her nephew and nephew's mother were all exhumed and relocated Wednesday in what Grisette said was a fitting memorial service.

"My friends came out and assistant pastor came out and some of her friends," she said. "It was very pleasant. The tents were set. It was very comfortable."

"We care," Riposta said. "We are a private, family-owned business and we care about their families."

Riposta said he wants Jacksonville families to know that they can trust him with making the situation right. And in time, he said, the cemetery will be be the finest Jacksonville has to offer.

"Every mausoleum has been painted and repaired," he said. "There are nine here. It's an ongoing process. We're fixing grave markers."

From the entrance to the cemetery to the veterans memorial, Riposta said he's renovating every inch, a process that's expected to take two to three years. Locals are already seeing the change.

"In the past year since the owners have been here, we've seen a lot of changes," resident Ron Baehne said.

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