Funerals tough emotionally, financially - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Funerals tough emotionally, financially

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By Karen Cohilas - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) – An Albany family is struggling right now, grieving the loss of a loved one and having trouble coming up with the money to bury him.

You likely remember Stephen Moncus.  We introduced you to him last month as he raised money to pay for a service dog to help him when he had seizures.  Sadly, Stephen died Tuesday.  Now, his family is looking for help to pay for his funeral. 

It's a problem many families face.  If you've ever dealt with the horrible task of burying a loved one, you know that in addition to the emotional side, there's a hard reality to face, laying someone to rest costs money, money that can be hard to come by in a tough economy.

Terri Moncus remembers her son Stephen, affectionately known as "Goose" by many, as a person who never met a stranger.  She said, "God just blessed him with a sweet spirit and people just loved him."

Terri found her son's lifeless body in bed on Tuesday.  It's a day she has feared for years, because Stephen was born sick.  She said, "When he was four months old, the doctors told us then they didn't think he would live a year and God blessed me with him for nearly 34."

But one thing the family wasn't blessed with, is a life insurance policy.  They couldn't get one for Stephen because of his illness.  Now they are struggling to pay to bury him.

It's a struggle funeral director Jason Thornhill is familiar with.  "We are in tough times and it runs the spectrum in every community and it touches everybody's lives in what's going on economically," said Thornhill.

Caskets can run thousands of dollars alone, but Thornhill says they work with families on burial plans that can meet every budget.  Thornhill said, "It's a case by case basis.  We serve everybody in the community, no matter what their economic background is.  We're here to serve and help people."

People like the Moncuses, who tonight, are remembering "Goose".

His mom said, "Our hearts are hurting, but he's not hurting anymore.  He can run, he can play and he can do whatever he wants to do."  Free of the seizures and disabilities that plagued him while he was alive.

And while it is a harsh reality, the funeral business is a business.  They can't afford to give funerals and services away to people, but they do try to help them when they are struggling financially.

Visitation for Stephen Moncus is Friday night at Kimbrell-Stern funeral home from six to eight.  His funeral is Saturday at First Presbyterian Church at 10.

His family has set up an account at Bank of America on Dawson Road to help pay for funeral expenses.

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