A celebrity funeral director has been sued by 17 families after they claimed to receive the wrong ashes, had their loved ones’ bodies disposed without permission, and even got an urn filled with white pebbles.
John Beckwith Jr., 79, who starred on TLC’s Best Funeral Ever and founder of Golden Gate Funeral Home ‘A’ Crematory, has been sued for negligence by more than a dozen families for desecrating their loved ones remains.
The families are now saying that the bodies were mishandled with one family saying they were even presented the wrong body and had to wait over an hour until employees were able to find their loved one.
‘They’re concerned their loved ones were not given respect for their final farewell,’ Jack Hales, who is representing the families, told the New York Post.
‘Golden Gate wants to market itself as the number one funeral home in the country but has shown a reckless disregard for industry standards necessary for providing a respectful farewell for these families,’ Hales said in a press release.
Families are accusing him of mishandling their loved ones
Jackie Carlisle, 31, (pictured) said she nearly fainted when she saw her 48-year-old mother Jennifer’s body at the funeral home. Jennifer’s body had been decomposed and they made her wait more than an hour before they found her body after presenting Jackie with another woman’s body
Tiesha Beaty found her father’s ashes replaced with tiny, white pebbles (pictured) when she went to place her father’s military metal into the urn after having to drive from Fort Worth to Dallas when the home moved her father without her permission
Seventeen complaints – 14 which were filed this year alone – came after an employee filed a complaint reporting rotting bodies were stacked inside an unrefrigerated truck in the parking lot when COVID-19 deaths were high – prompting an investigation by the Texas Funeral Service Commission, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported.
Plaintiff Jackie Carlisle, 31, said she nearly fainted when she saw her 48-year-old mother Jennifer’s body at the funeral home.
When she attempted to visit her mother’s remains on June 19, 2020, just days after she has passed away from COVID-19, she was presented with ‘someone else’s remains.’
‘The [dead] woman was a lot skinnier than my mom so I immediately knew it wasn’t her,’ she told the New York Post.
When they ‘eventually found Jennifer,’ her body was free of any makeup or cosmetics and was still dressed in a hospital gown.
‘Worse, Jennifer’s body had partially decomposed,’ the lawsuit read. ‘Jennifer’s abdomen was severely bloated. Her skin had dark splotches and discoloration [and] Jennifer was still wearing her hospital gown.’
Known for their over-the-top funeral services, Golden Gate appeared on TLC’s Best Funeral Ever in 2013 and 2014
Golden Gate Funeral Home in Dallas, Texas, funeral director John Beckwith, Jr holds unconventional funerals
Festive spirit: One client opted for a Christmas-inspired service, complete with reindeer, alpacas and snow
Sporting touch: A boxing fanatic is honored in the ring, organized by Beckwith’s funeral home
Jackie had been left alone with her mother’s body and had to make do by using the makeup and perfume in her purse to make her mother’s body presentable, but despite her best efforts, attendees took photos.
‘At the wake, Jennifer’s appearance so unsightly that attendees felt compelled to take picture,’ the lawsuit said.
‘It broke me and I fell on the floor,’ Jackie told the New York Post on Thursday.
‘I was horrified. It was the first time I’d seen my mother since I did a FaceTime with her in the hospital.’
Jackie had paid Golden Gate $11,000 for the funeral, embalming, cosmetology services, and the wake – which had to be postponed due to the funeral home preparing the wake at their location and not at Cornerstone Baptist Church, where it was originally arranged for.
Nekeya Webster also filed a lawsuit against Beckwith in 2021 accusing Golden Gate of disposing her father Aldo Busby’s ashes in the funeral home’s second cemetery in Tallulah, Louisiana – more than 300 miles away from Dallas, Texas.
Bubsy, 60, died in December 2018 from multiple organ failure and Webster was left in the dark for months as to when she would receive his ashes.
It wasn’t until a surprise visit to the funeral home that she could out her father’s ashes had been scattered in Louisiana.
‘[The staff] kept me waiting for at least an hour and then told me my dad’s remains had been taken to Louisiana and scattered there,’ Webster told the New York Post.
A representative for Beckwick (pictured on TLC) said they would fight the allegations
The funeral director was first under investigation by the Texas Funeral Service Commission after an employee filed a complaint saying bodies were being stored inside an unrefrigerated truck in the parking lot when COVID-19 deaths were high
‘It was the most traumatic thing I’d ever experienced. My siblings and I had wanted to have his urn with his ashes so we could hold it and remember him.’
Tiesha Beaty went to put her father’s military family into the urn only to find tiny, white pebbles instead of his ashes.
In addition, after changing funeral homes to Golden Gate after having a disagreement with the former home, her father’s ashes were transferred from Golden’s Fort Worth to the Dallas location.
Other lawsuits against Golden Gate claimed some families received the wrong ashes or didn’t receive any at all, leaving the families to ‘live with the trauma so carelessly inflicted by Golden Gate.’
Golden Gate has stated that they will fight the allegations made against them.
‘Golden Gate is a family-owned and operated business…We plan to respond to the allegations made against us and defend against these claims in a court of law,’ Tonika Brown, who represents the Golden Gate Funeral Home and Beckwith, said in a statement.
Best Funeral Ever was known for its over-the-top services, where it even raced Olympian Ronnie Ray Smith across a 100-yard track and even presented the casket with a gold medal.
Original posted at www.dailymail.co.uk