Family demands answers after father's headstone incomplete 1 year after death


by Staff

Posted on July 11, 2012 at 4:35 PM

Updated Wednesday, Jul 11 at 9:22 PM

ST. LOUIS ( -- A St. Louis County family will mark a somber anniversary this Sunday. It will be one year ago since their father passed away.

Yet Clifford Strupel’s headstone is missing something, and his children are not happy.

 “Right here is where it should go, date of death, and still not complete,” said Clifford’s daughter Cathy.

A week after her father died, she paid Schaefer Monuments to have the date of death engraved on her father’s marker.

She’s been waiting ever since.

“Every time I come by it’s like is it done?” she said. “I’ve called him every month for a year, and he’s had an excuse.  Every time he’s had a different excuse, short of staff, two months later, too busy-  too cold.”

News 4 has heard this complaint before.

Just last march, a mother called the newsroom after waiting two years for a headstone for her son’s grave.

“What happened is we got behind,” Rich Schaefer said then. Schaefer told News 4 his company was small and overwhelmed with work.

When News 4 returned Wednesday, the news was the same:

“I got about a year’s work behind,” said Schaefer.

A quick look at Schaefer’s yard shows he is busy, and he insists he appreciates his customers’ frustrations:

“I just want to let everybody know we’re not forgetting anybody, we’re getting behind, we’ve had illnesses, we’re a small outfit and we really can’t afford to hire a lot of people to help out.”

Schaefer says he is now contracting out the smaller jobs, but Cathy Strupel is tired of excuses.

“It’s not complete.  My father’s not at rest, his stone is not finished. It’s just not done”

Strupel has now contracted with another company to engrave her father’s headstone.

As for the money she has already paid to Schaefer, he has promised personally he will send her a refund right away.