Body Kept On Ice For Months As Family Blocks Cremation

November 23, 2010
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imageThe body of a 105-year-old woman has reportedly been kept on ice at the Gramercy Park Memorial Chapel because her grandnephew James Pollock refuses to let her be cremated. Ethel Baar asked to be cremated in her 1999 will, but Pollock says that “Jewish religion forbids cremation,” according to court papers. Now the funeral home is asking a judge for help in figuring out what to do with Baar’s body. “Ms. Baar’s remains are not embalmed, and have been maintained in a refrigeration unit for a prolonged time period,” funeral home lawyer Peter Shapiro wrote in court papers. “The passage of time has an inevitable impact on the remains.”

It’s unclear why they’re having such a hard time cremating Baar’s body when she requested it in her will and literally every living family member but Pollock thinks it’s fine, but her corpse has been on ice since her death in September.

But Pollack has been vocal, and Baar’s other nephew Leibert Greenberg (left responsible for carrying out Baar’s final wishes) says Pollack repeatedly pressured her to change her mind about cremation. “[Pollock] was badgering and harassing her that she should adopt orthodoxy at burial, but that was not her wish. She was very clear,” said Greenberg. “She rejected his bullying several times.”

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Cousin William Wolf said, “I know from all my conversations with her that she had no feelings for orthodoxy. She was not a religious person at all and her desire was just that she be cremated,” and her grandneice wrote the funeral home, “Apparently, only one out of many of Aunt Ethel’s relatives has some objection to the cremation process, and this should not override her wishes.” Family: can’t live with ’em, cant die in the manner in which you specified to without ’em.

Source: gothamist.com

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