Cleburne Times-Review, Cleburne, TX

Local News

January 18, 2013

Funeral feud: Deceased departs in U-Haul


Cecil Rodgers, 74, of Alvarado, passed away Jan. 6. Friday morning found him resting in a coffin inside a U-Haul truck parked in the driveway of his family’s home awaiting a trip to Cleburne for burial later the same day. 

Explanations of how that came to be differ between a family member and the owner of an Alvarado funeral home.

Annette Rodgers, Rodgers’ daughter-in-law, said Clayton Kay Vaughn Funeral Home in Alvarado asked the family to retrieve Rodgers’ body on Thursday because they did not have the funds to pay. 

Anna Lax, owner of the funeral home, said the family was not upfront about their financial situation with her even after she worked with them and discounted prices.

Rodgers said that, because the family didn’t have the $8,000 to pay for funeral services, the funeral home asked them to pick up Rodgers’ body. Which they did, picking Rodgers up in a U-Haul truck at about 5 p.m. Thursday.

Rodgers said the funeral home required them to have a police escort out of the building.

“We had an escort from two Alvarado policemen,” Rodgers said. “The police met us there. I’ve never heard of anything like this. It just blows my mind. I don’t know how they could have the heart to do this, no telling how many others this has happened to.”

Rodgers, on Friday morning, said the family made arrangements with a funeral home in Hillsboro to handle the burial, which took place about noon in a cemetery near Cleburne.

Lax said several family members were very considerate, but that others “verbally assaulted her” and were not forthcoming concerning their financial situation.

“We picked Mr. Rodgers up [Jan. 6] at his home and I invited the family, three daughters and a son, in the next day to discuss arrangements,” Lax said.

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