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Pasco County widow wants husband’s missing gravestone replaced

Family: Cemetery did not offer to repair broken monument
Stella Marusak Jackie Callaway WFTS.png
Posted at 12:23 PM, Feb 25, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-25 18:15:03-05

PASCO COUNTY, Fla. — A widow in Pasco County wants answers after she found her husband's gravestone missing. After waiting nearly two months for the cemetery to replace it, she and her family made a call to Taking Action reporter Jackie Callaway.

For 16 years, Stella Marusak made regular visits to her husband Stephen's gravesite.

Stephen was only 59 when he died suddenly at home in his recliner on June 30, 2006.

Marusak finds comfort in her trips to Stephen's monument.

"It gives me some peace," she said.

That peace was shattered on December 22, when she found the large gravestone missing. It appeared to have broken off at the base, which is all that remains of the memorial.

The Marusak family says no one from Trinity Memorial Gardens told them why the stone was missing. But after reaching the cemetery's general manager, she learned that someone knocked the marker over, and it broke into pieces.

Marusak waited weeks for Pasco County cemetery to offer to repair or replace the granite memorial. In February, she made a call for action.

Trinity Memorial's General Manager Gary Saling explained the marker was manufactured by a company the family hired and it was not designed to last for decades. He said they were working on a resolution.

Days later, Trinity Memorial Gardens sent the Marusak family a letter apologizing for the delayed response and offering "to best replicate the existing marker" or repair the original headstone.

"It means a lot for it to be restored the way it was no matter how it happened," Marusak said.