Flooding, heavy rain postpones burials in Berrien County

COLOMA, Mich. - Cemeteries always rely on Mother Nature. But the last few weeks of severe weather in Michiana has made it even harder for one Coloma cemetery to serve its clients.

Bert Edquist owns or manages three cemeteries in Berrien County. He had to postpone one burial at his Benton Harbor location last week because of the heavy rain and two others at his Coloma location.

“That is a last resort for us because we don’t want to put a family through not being able to make a burial after a funeral," Edquist said. "They want closure and we will make the burial, if at all possible, so the family can get closure.”

In addition to postponed burials, the cemetery is also dealing with flood damage. One of the basement walls of the North Shore Memory Gardens office caved in because the rain saturated the ground so much.

Although Edquist tries to avoid postponing burials, he says it happens at least once a year because of snow or rain making the ground too vulnerable.

“We’re at the mercy of Mother Nature," he said, "and we really can’t do anything until the water recedes and things dry out a bit.”

Edquist also said that north of Michiana -- in places like Michigan's Upper Peninsula -- it's common that burials are not done in the winter because the ground is so frozen. He said they usually just wait until spring. 

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