Headstones of a Syracuse family buried in Oakwood Cemetery: Your Stories


SYRACUSE, NY (WSYR-TV) – Families can find solace and solace at the graves of loved ones, but for the Tillis family, a recent visit to Oakwood Cemetery brought heartbreak and heartbreak.

Relatives found three headstones of family members overturned on Thursday following an apparent vehicle collision. To their surprise, they had not been informed by the owners of the cemetery of the incident which took place Wednesday evening around 10 p.m. according to the Syracuse police.

“I feel like at the very least they could have apologized, they could have offered to meet us here or explain why they didn’t know what they knew, and then let us know what they were going to do about it, “Susie Ferguson, wife of Willie Ferguson whose headstone was knocked over, said.

Oakwood Cemetery declined an interview but told NewsChannel 9 that their company policy is to wait until a police report is filed before contacting the family. The Syracuse Police Department filed the report Thursday and Oakwood Cemetery said the family arrived to visit the grave before they could be contacted.

Sisters Judy Spaights and Marine Jones were devastated to see their mother and brothers’ joint headstone knocked down in the incident, unable to properly mourn the anniversary of their mother’s death on Friday due to the situation.

“We want to come here and commemorate our loved ones, but to come to this is not acceptable,” Jones said.

Ferguson’s husband was a decorated Vietnam veteran, having received two purple hearts and several other awards during his service.

“I’m already trying to get over the grief of losing my husband and now that he’s risen so to speak, I have to relive this again,” she said.

The family is upset that the cemetery did not call them to tell them about the vehicle collision as soon as they discovered it, or to apologize for what had happened on their land.

“I felt like we should have gotten a call immediately once this happened even if you were to say yes a police report was filed but don’t go up there or touch anything, I would have felt better, but we did it and didn’t get anything, ”Spaights said.

Both headstones were put back in place on Monday morning, but there is visible damage.

Syracuse Police are asking anyone with information to contact them at (315) 442-5222.


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