(WEHT)- The loss of a loved one is a tragedy, but the loss of the tombstone dedicated to keeping their memories alive is disturbing.
Harry Allen and Anna Borders both died well over 150 years ago and their parents and siblings are gone as well, but that didn’t stop Shane Kocher and Tracie Ruff from trying to find their missing tombstones and return them to their rightful, and final, resting place.
Kocher and Ruff say it started on New Year’s Day when they saw a post in a Facebook group showing Allen’s tombstone was up for sale in an Evansville antique store. Allen, who died as an infant in 1869, was laid to rest at a family cemetery in Warrick County.
After contacting the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, the duo contacted the store to verify that Allen’s tombstone was up for sale, Kocher and Ruff say that’s when they found out that the seller also had Borders’ tombstone, more than 250 years after she was born in 1771.
While it’s unclear when, or why, the tombstones were originally stolen, Ruff says her research indicated they were both in a Posey County garage for at least 30 years before the seller acquired them. With help from the DNR, Kocher got to work refurbishing both tombstones before returning Allen and Borders’ tombstones to their final resting places in Warrick and Pike counties, respectively.
Well more than a century has passed since they died, but Kocher says it’s still important for him to make sure they’re treated with the proper respect, as a way to honor their loss.
Ruff says she shared a special moment with Kocher after they returned Allen’s tombstone, saying the both “looked to the heavens” and told his mother that “he’s home.”
The duo plan to officially rededicate both tombstones with special ceremonies in Warrick and Pike counties on June 4th. They hope to welcome both of their families for the special moment.