Family Angry Over 500-Pound Woman's Burial
Casket Not Large Enough, Children Say
NORWOOD, Ohio -- An Ohio woman was laid to rest recently, but her family says
she'll never be at peace.
Barbara Norris of Norwood died last week at age 63. Norris weighed more than 500
pounds, so her children were concerned from the beginning about making sure her
casket was big enough, Cincinnati TV station WLWT reported.
Family members said they checked with the funeral director at the Tredway
Pollitt Funeral Home to make sure everything was in order.
"We all kept saying, 'Is this going to fit her? Is it going to be big enough?'"
said Mercedes Norris, daughter of Barbara Norris. "'(The funeral director said)
yes, yes. This will fit her."
Mercedes Morris and the rest of the family said they were horrified when they
showed up for the funeral.
"Her face was, like, all squished up," she said.
According to WLWT, the casket was larger than a standard-sized casket. However,
the family said that it still was not big enough.
What allegedly happened after the funeral was unforgivable, according to Barbara
Norris' grandson, Joe Moreno.
"They asked me to lay on the top of the casket to try to get the lock down,"
"The guy and my nephew were both laying on the thing trying to lock the coffin,"
said Michael Norris, son of the deceased.
The efforts to close the casket apparently were unsuccessful, and the casket was
open when Barbara Norris was buried.
"I know there was a three- or four-inch gap in there," Michael Norris said. "I
stood there and watched them pour dirt on my mom knowing that that casket was
not closed properly. That is not right."
"You couldn't see her body but you could see the lining of the casket," Moreno
The funeral director at Tredway Pollitt Funeral Home told WLWT that he did his
best, under unusual circumstances, to accommodate the family. He said also that
he had no knowledge of his employees laying on the casket or of the casket
failing to close.
Mercedes Norris said the funeral director's explanation is not enough to comfort
"My mom had a lot of dignity," she said. "She may have been a big woman, but she
was a good woman. And he had no right to bury her like that."
WLWT contacted several funeral home directors who said caskets can be
special-ordered in any size. Also, because many caskets are made in nearby
Batesville, Ind., and Aurora, Ind., a specially ordered casket can be shipped to
local funeral homes within 24 to 36 hours.
The Tredway Pollitt Funeral Home has been in business since 1892. According to
the Better Business Bureau, no complaints have been filed against the home in
the last three years.