Family receives closure as delayed memorial monument is finally delivered


KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — A Knoxville family who lost a loved one six months ago will finally have closure this week after it’s taken half a year for the family of Elaine Cannon to have a memorial monument, that they bought years ago, to be delivered and set up.

When the name of the monument company came up, Island Home, WATE 6 On Your Side checked our video archives, and the current dispute of non-delivery is similar to what was reported years ago.

Many families want to be well prepared for end-of-life issues. Pre-need headstone and cemetery monument purchases usually paid ahead of time, have become increasingly popular in recent years.

Avonda Boyden and her family have been waiting for months to have a memorial monument set up at her home in Seymour for her mother. Elaine Cannon died of cancer on October 20th of last year. She had been ill for years.

Amanda Hamlin is Cannon’s granddaughter. She wrote a $4,100 check to Island Home Monument Company; $500 was for delivery and set up. That check was written in 2015.

At the time, six years ago, Cannon was not expected to live.

“No one could believe it, it was a miracle. She did real good up until October of last year, when we lost her.”

Amanda Hamlin

So, last October, Hamlin contacted Buddy Mulkey at Island Home. It took him several weeks to get back with her.

“Numerous phone calls back and forth, numerous emails. Even an email where he came back and said, yep, I’ve got it, it will be ready in two weeks.”

Amanda Hamlin

But the memorial for Cannon, paid in advance, was never delivered.

“During a time like this when you lose a loved one it’s hard. And on top of that, having to fight somebody to get what you already paid for to me is just wrong.”

Avonda Boyden – Elaine Cannon’s daughter

We met Buddy Mulkey, the owner of Island Home Monument Company, 19 years ago. In 2002, he had failed to deliver grave stones to other families who had paid for their markers in advance.

“I knew if we had to wait on him to do it, it was not going to happen.”

Jeff Wallace

WATE 6 On Your Side contacted Jeff Wallace last week, he operates Maryville Monuments. His company purchased Mulkey’s business with the understanding her would honor previous accounts already paid for.

Wallace got in touch with Mulkey and picked up the monument.

“It was very dirty when we got it, real dirty. We have washed it and cleaned it. It was in his yard.”

Jeff Wallace

Wallace said Mulkey doesn’t have the tools to engrave the stone. So, Maryville Monuments will finish the job as well as deliver and set up the memorial in Boyden’s backyard this week.

“We just wanted to lay mom to rest and have peace. Now we will.”

Avonda Boyden

We reached out to Mulkey, the former owner of Island Home Monument Company, he said while he had the monument all along, he just never finished it.

One thing in the family’s favor, they had saved all their records. They kept their check to Island Home, a picture of the monument, even a record of the calls to Mulkey.

The family is grateful to Maryville Monuments and to Wallace for acting quickly and getting the memorial to them.

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