Tag Archives: Kitsap County Coroner’s Office

Benefactors step up to help the indigent dead

Since our story Sunday on the Kitsap County Coroner’s Office running out of money in 2011 to care for the remains of the indigent, Coroner Greg Sandstrom called me to say he’d heard from some people who want to help.

Sandstrom and others plan a ceremony this summer at the Old Silverdale Cemetery. There, the remains of some of the 18 people now stored at the coroner’s office will get a dignified burial in plots donated to the county some years back. Those who are certified veterans will be buried at the Tahoma National Cemetery in Kent.

One of the 18 will be buried next to his wife at the Seabold Cemetery on Bainbridge Island, thanks to some sleuthing by a caretaker for the cemetery. The caretaker called Sandstrom to say he’d found the name of one of the indigents, Walter G. Autem, on a marker at the cemetery with a date of birth but not death date. Clearly he had a place reserved for him.

A woman, who turns out to be Mr. Autem’s wife, is buried in the same plot. Sandstrom verified the man’s identity by cross checking the two birth dates, which match. And Mr. Autem, who died at 89, was a Bainbridge resident. The caretaker has offered to bury the remains of the two other Bainbridge residents in the coroner’s care at Seabold Cemetery as well. They are Raymond L. Cassalery, 73, and Victoria Frances, 59.

“I thought it was pretty nice,” said Sandstrom. “People who know them will be able to come and visit them.”

As for the funding shortfall, a Bremerton woman has come forward offering to donate some money to help defray the coroner’s cost for cremation, at $500 per person.

The story has generated interest beyond Kitsap County. It was mentioned in the Oregonian’s OregonLive.com blog. Sandstrom was recently interviewed by Q13, and he’s been contacted by KOMO, which is doing a story on indigents.

Anyone who wants to help defray the coroner’s cost to care for Kitsap’s indigent dead or who has information on the individuals listed below should call Sandstrom at (360) 337-7077.

The remains of the following people are at the Kitsap County Coroner’s Office awaiting burial.

Ruth Gross, 79, Belfair

Darrell Elliott, 59, Bremerton

Grace Seeley, 89, Olalla

Betty Honeycutt, 64, Bremerton

Sue Stuart, 60, Bremerton

Delbert Hersha, 57, unknown

Raymond L. Cassalery, 73, Bainbridge Island

Henry M. Gordon, 70, Olalla

Charles E. Curlee, 64, Bremerton

Brian Garcia, 50, Bremerton

Carl G. Hasty, 71, Port Orchard

Victoria Frances, 59, Bainbridge Island

Monte Welenkel, 76, Port Orchard

Walter G. Autem, 89, Bainbridge

Joyce E. Koranda, 82, Poulsbo

Jess M. Wilks, 81, Bremerton

Arnold Mauricette, 70, Seattle

William G. Brown, 77, Port Orchard