A grieving family was devastated after not being able to meet a grandfather’s wish for his ashes to be scattered at sea, told he was too big to be cremated.
A grieving family was devastated after not being able to meet a grandfather’s wish for his ashes to be scattered at sea, told he was too big to be cremated.

Beloved grandfather ‘too obese to be cremated’

A GRIEVING east coast family has been left devastated and searching for answers after being told their much-loved husband, father and grandfather was too big to be cremated.

The man, who the family asked not be named, died on January 23 aged 58 after falling victim to a heart attack.

He had suffered from diabetes and Charcot syndrome, a disorder that damages the nerves in the arms and legs.

The man's daughter said her father had weighed about 180 kilograms at the time of his death and had put on weight in recent years due to his condition.

"He put on a lot of weight the last five years because he couldn't walk. He was pretty much in a wheelchair and was on lots of medication,'' she said.

She said it was her father's wish that he be cremated.

"He bought a boat for the family to take the kids out fishing - he always said he'd wanted us to take his boat out and spread his ashes in the ocean,'' she said.

But the family will now never be able to fulfil that wish.

The man's daughter said the family was told by a representative of Turnbull Funerals in Hobart that he could not be cremated and the only option was for him to be buried instead.

The man was buried at a cemetery in southern Tasmania - at a cost of about $4000 more than the family had been expecting to pay.

"It was horrible,'' she said.

"I think (the funeral directors) were a bit confused as well because I don't think they ever had to tell anyone that … but they didn't give us much option."

The man's daughter said the family wanted to speak up to inform other families they may face a similar situation.

"We just want other people to know, so they can think about that in the future, especially bigger people knowing they can't be cremated here in Tassie,'' she said.

"We were lucky dad wasn't completely against the idea of being buried … there's people completely against it and don't want to be buried, and if they are a bigger person, then they've got no option."

A spokeswoman for Turnbull Funerals said health and safety reasons were behind the decision to refuse the cremation.

"Unfortunately, in this instance we weren't able to accommodate the deceased and coffin in the cremator due to health and safety reasons,'' she said.

"The size of the coffin would have inhibited the performance of the cremator and caused safety concerns.

"We made several inquiries to other service providers around the region, including a company in Victoria, and no provider was able to undertake the cremation for the same reasons."

The man's daughter said her father was funny, liked a joke, and loved his family, fishing and his motorbikes.

He is survived by his wife, four children and six grandchildren.

cameron.whiteley@news.com.au

Originally published as Beloved grandfather 'too obese to be cremated'


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