5 On Your Side

Man waits months for grandson's headstone from Durham company

Posted January 19, 2010
Updated February 25, 2010

 A laminated photo taped to a wooden stick serves as a makeshift grave marker for Alex Bryant.
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— A laminated photo taped to a wooden stick serves as a makeshift grave marker in the middle of a Garner cemetery.

“I guess that's the next best thing cause you know without the picture, you wouldn't be able to find him,” Roy Bryant said.

The marker is for Bryant’s 18-year-old grandson, Alex, who was also known as “Little Roy.” Bryant said the two were inseparable.

Last June, Alex died in a car crash.

“I think about him every day,” Bryant said. “We were just together all the time. He was like my son, instead of my grandson. Yeah, I miss him a lot.”

And looking at Alex’s grave only makes the hurt that much worse, Bryant said.

“When people come out, family members come out, some people even say, ‘If you don't have the money to do it, we'll help you,’” Bryant said. “And you know, it's kind of embarrassing.”

Especially since Bryant paid a $975 deposit to J&P Memorials of Durham more than four months ago. The headstone was supposed to be installed within six-to-eight weeks. Bryant said he's heard nothing but excuses from owner Joseph Parker.

“Every time I call its, ‘Can I call you back?’ or ‘I’ll get back with you later today,’ or ‘The company that’s manufacturing the plates moved to Atlanta,’” Bryant said. “It’s just one excuse after the other.”

So Bryant called 5 on Your Side for help. Bryant is one of five people who have complained to WRAL about problems getting headstones they ordered from Parker.

The company has an "F" rating from the Better Business Bureau.

Five on Your Side stopped by to see Parker. He said perhaps he took on more than he should have.

“We just got backed up and I apologize. And we'll get ‘em corrected. Get the situation corrected,” he said.

Parker promised he would have Alex’s headstone by the end of the month.

Bryant said he just wants to honor his grandson with the headstone he paid for.

“I feel like I'm cheating him you know, ‘cause he don't have a marker. I mean I know he's dead, but I just feel like I'm cheating him,” Bryant said.


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  • mycatbubba Jan 21, 2010

    I spoke with the owner of this company two weeks ago with plans of ordering a headstone for my 47 year old husband. I took a friend with me who owns her own stone/tile business. Mr. Parker couldn't correctly answer basic questions such as "Where does the granite come from?" NC is the granite capital and yet he said, "India." We left his business with many doubts. He said he would contact me within a few days but it has been two weeks now and I still have not heard from him. I'm so thankful I didn't pay him any money. I feel so badly for the grandfather of this young man.

  • Jan 21, 2010

    Since I have buried 2 sons and a wife, purchasing tombstones and waiting for them to be set is where you need to have PATIENCE. Else you get a stone that sinks, falls over, is not perfect as ordered. Tombstones are not just tossing a rock with words stamped on it down onto the ground. It requires the right soil prep, right moisture content and if the stone setters are not willing to risk setting a stone due to these conditions, THEY ARE THE EXPERTS AND YOUR JUST IMPATIENT.

  • jdag Jan 21, 2010

    I would be "sitting" on whoever recommended them. That's where influence can be leveraged. If I recommend a business and I get word back that something went wrong, it had better be made right or I'll never recommend them again. The threat of lost business can usually straighten somebody out.

  • twinkiemb Jan 20, 2010

    We ordered the headstone through the management company of the cemetary we used a few years ago. The company they used took 3 to 4 months to get the stone. When I called to find out the delay we were told it is normal for it to take so long, which I think is just wrong, but somehow after I called it came in a week later. I know how hurt we were, and I feel so sorry for this family. Hopefully he can get this resolved soon. (And the BBB was not even a thought in the dark)

  • HappyGirl08 Jan 20, 2010

    How sad. I hope all of those families that have been waiting around for months are taken care of soon.

  • sneeziegal Jan 20, 2010

    Hey hallc:

    You have to remember that most people are not in the state of mind to even remember something like the Better Business Bureau . If they are ordering a headstone, then obviously a loved one has died. A Better Business Bureau rating is not exactly at the top of their priority list.

  • sssh.. whisper Jan 20, 2010

    That company should just shut down.. If they can't handle the workload and have no sympathy for these people than they shouldn't exist. I hope this man gets the headstone promptly. I think that the company should give him at least half his money back for having to wait.

  • hallc Jan 20, 2010

    This is the third or fourth "story" on this J&P
    Memorials in about 2 years. Perhaps the general public should check his Better Business Bureau Rating "Before" purchasing headstones/markers etc. If no one bought from him, perhaps he could get caught up on his workload! No family should have to suffer the pain of waiting that long for a marker to be placed!

  • countess Jan 20, 2010

    Poor guy, he is mourning his grand-son and has to put up with this kind of incompetence and stalling regarding the headstone. I hope he can find peace and his grand-son can be honored as the grand-father wishes..