Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Insulting widows: Avoid Hall-Wynne Funeral Home (Durham)

My dad's passing was horrific. 

My dad suffered tremendously at the hands of thoughtless and money motivated Duke University Hospital in Durham, NC. Of course, my mom (dad's wife of 55 years) experienced a different but equally paralyzing pain during my dad's mis-treatment at DUH.

I never dreamed that my mom's suffering would extend to the funeral home experience experience. It did.

Brown Wynne Funeral Home in Cary, NC has a fantastic reputation. Silly me thought that "Hall" Wynne in Durham, NC would be likewise reputable. I was wrong. Hall-Wynne Funeral Home in Durham, NC is a creepy, mean-spirited and primarily mercenary group.

My dad died unexpectedly at home late on a Friday afternoon. I gave the Cary Police Department the name of Hall Wynne as the funeral home we chose. (I hoped that Duke, also in Durham, would perform an autopsy).

Two creepy stereotypical mortuary men from Hall Wynne came to my mom's home a few hours after dad's death. She was distraught and wanted to be left alone. But they demanded to meet her personally. But the creepy men never left a card or showed us any identification. They told mom that she had to come to the funeral home the next morning (a Saturday) at 10:00 am to discuss the funeral. Dad died at 5:00 pm on Friday.

Mom told them that she just wanted her husband cremated. Simple. Oh, but that is not how funeral homes make their money.

The creepy men from Hall Wynne apparently rely on grieving widows to sell them doves, bird seed, fancy caskets that are only going to be burned. It is easier to do that if the widow is in a weakened state.

I emailed Hall Wynne and told them that mom was too distressed to meet with them on Saturday morning. Monday was a holiday. My brother and I went to Hall Wynne to make arrangements on Tuesday.

On Wednesday, I was working with Duke Medical to make arrangements for an autopsy. And in the midst of that, a (IMHO) very creepy man (Mike Toole) from Hall Wynne Funeral Home in Durham actually called my mom and demanded money before he would release the body to Duke for the autopsy. 

Hall Wynne's Mike Toole literally accused my grieving mom of just dumping my deceased father on Hall Wynne. What?  Really?  Did you learn that technique in mortuary school, Toole? The horrified widowed was in tears.  

Toole knew that my brother came from California to work with me on the disposal arrangements.  Toole knew my phone number and my brother's phone number.  He chose instead to call the grieving widow.  Maybe, just a speculation, someone at Hall Wynne could have guilted the widow into spending more money with unnecessary bird seeds or doves or the funeral mom was not ready to plan.

I called the creepy undertaker Mike Toole and advised him that it was inappropriate to terrorize a widow. He could not have cared less that he hurt a new widow. I explained to him that there were actually options for payment - including accepting assignment from life insurance. Toole (IMHO an appropriate name) insinuated that he doubted we had insurance. He told me that he was "suspicious" that we just brought and left my dad's remains for "so long." He was also "suspicious" that my mom (grieving widow) "could not manage to come meet with him herself." What? That's very nice, Toole.

I will find out who regulates funeral homes and report this place and Mike Toole specifically. He was more than just a jerk. He tried to intimidate and harass my grieving mom.

I beg all of you to recognize that after you have cared for an ill person over many years . . . stay strong even through the funeral process. Many of these creeps do not care about you or your feelings. They exist to extract as money from you as possible passed on your palpable grief.

If you live in the Triangle, NC - you can (and deserve to) do better for you and your deceased than Hall-Wynne in Durham, NC.


  1. I have been following you and your journey from time to time these past few years . Please allow me to extend my sympathies to your and your family for your loss.

    You have carried such a burden these past years and deserve the right to put your father away with peace and dignity. No one has the right to deny you that.

    It is unfathomable that your family should be victimized so many times over, the latest of which is by the funeral home.

    Morticians who refuse to sympathize or are no longer capable of sympathizing with grieving family members should not be in business.

    It is shameful that they would compound the suffering of loved ones by intimidation and greed.

    Do take them to task.

    My prayers and sympathies are with you and yours.

    God bless you,

  2. Thank you for your comments. My mom was attacked again by some jerk apparently associated with the mortician industry and who knows the "gentleman" who insulted the widow. This jerk actually was suspicious of my mom for choosing a funeral home close to Duke (where dad was treated). The jerk did not get that Cary NC (where mom lives) is a small town and mom did not want to drive by the funeral home everyday.

    The jerk also accused my mom of trying to avoid paying the morticians in Durham.

    Creepy, creepy, creepy. And threatens me with an attorney! hahahahah. I was not going to report the creepy funeral home - now I know I will! No family should be subjected to what my mom underwent. And then for the mortician that disrespected and threatened my my mom to have some anonymous person insult her again! Ummm, not so much!

    Please --- everyone in Durham, NC. Check around for a respectful funeral home before you need one.

    You do not need doves and fancy caskets and all the bells and whistles nearly as much as you need compassion.