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Monument shortage impacting family's grieving process

Posted at 6:39 PM, Jun 09, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-09 23:29:34-04

TULSA, Okla. — A monument shortage is keeping families from a usual part of the grieving process when losing loved ones.

Renee' Mowery says her family started the process of buying a marker in October for her father who died in August.

"In the beginning, Kory Hollister with Hollister Monument was very upfront and said it will probably be spring before the marker is set and so that meant it wouldn't make his birthday in December, or Christmas, or their 68th wedding anniversary in January," Mowery says.

Mowery says her wait for a monument beyond Easter and Memorial Day made it especially difficult as her father served in the army in the Korean War.

"Every now and then mother and I will go out to the cemetery just to see if it's surprisingly set," she says.

"I think a grave marker is the last material item if you will that will be left with a name for generations to see and so I think it's important."

Headstone makers say materials like granite, special saws and stencils are becoming difficult to come by.

Kory Hollister - Hollister Monument Co Owner

"Before 2020, our normal completion time on a domestic granite was about 2 months," said Hollister Monument co-owner Kory Hollister. "Now, we guess around 6 months. We can't even give a time frame because the industry is so overwhelmed."

Hollister is a third-generation monument maker. He says the supply chain issues and port backups left businesses like his empty-handed as some of the materials are on a year and a half delay.

"I have been told by the time something leaves India, it's about a two-month process but then the ships are waiting outside waiting to get unloaded in the ports," Hollister says.

Months after the order, Mowery's granite finally arrived, now needing to be engraved and set.

"If it doesn't make Father's Day it's OK," Mowery says. "It doesn't change how we feel about him. It's just a way to permanently put his name on a place and so we are looking forward to it, it will be nice."

Hollister suggests ordering ahead, even before a loved one's death.

"To me, a pre-need purchase is the best thing you can do," he says. "One, you are both still living and you know what you want. It's cheaper now than it will be 10 years from now so buy it now and get what you want."

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