Never Sneer At A Woman And Say, “So, What Are You Going To Do About It?”

Remember the movie Four Weddings and a Funeral?

We could call this story One Deceased, Two Wives and Two Funerals.

We could call it Show Me the Ashes!

But I want the focus on the “woman” in the post’s title:

Demetra Street.

And when a guy sneered at her and said, “So, what are you do about it?”

She did something about it.

She’s suing him for $8.5 million.

Here’s the story, according to the lawsuit quoted in the Washington Post, the Baltimore Sun, Great Britain’s Daily Mail and other sources:

Back in January in Baltimore, Ivan Street, 67 (pictured), died suddenly from congestive heart failure.  He and his wife of four years, Demetra, 52, were separated and living apart at the time, but they were still married.

According to the Washington Post,

“Demetra went to the funeral home, identified Ivan’s body and provided her marriage certificate to prove she was next of kin.  She entered into a $2,500 contract for Ivan’s cremation and a memorial service with the funeral home.”

Ivan’s framed picture would be placed next to the urn containing his ashes, and Demetra would sing at the service.

But before the cremation and service could take place, someone at Wylie Funeral Home contacted Demetra and advised that another woman had appeared, claiming to be Ivan’s wife.  

The woman had provided the funeral home with a marriage license from October 1997 – though it was lacking an official seal – and the woman insisted that Ivan be buried, not cremated.

Again, according to the Washington Post, Demetra “told them to ignore the woman, who she said had no authority to make changes to the funeral plans.”

The Post declined to name the woman, “since her identity was not independently verified.”

The Daily Mail had no such hesitation about naming the woman:

Renee Cook.

Who appears to be the person who later posted this message on the Ivan Street page on the Wylie Funeral Home website, but under the name “Renee Wright”:

Demetra’s service for Ivan went ahead as planned, then a strange thing happened, says the lawsuit.  A funeral employee allegedly took the urn and hid it away.  When Demetra asked the funeral home to turn over Ivan’s ashes, she says the staff refused.

Two days later, Demetra said she received a puzzling email from a funeral home worker, revealing that Ivan had been laid to rest at Mount Zion Cemetery.

Three days prior to the service Demetra attended.

Then, says the Post,

“When Street protested to one of the owners by phone – identified in the lawsuit as ‘Mr. Wylie’ – he allegedly told her, ‘So, what are you going to do about it?’”

Bad idea.

When Demetra received her husband’s death certificate from the Maryland Department of Health Division of Vital Statistics, it confirmed that Ivan had been buried at Mount Zion Cemetery in Baltimore on January 20, three days before the alleged sham memorial service Demetra paid for. 

Demetra lawyered up.  Her lawyer’s name, somewhat ironically, is Alexander Coffin.

According to the Daily Mail, Coffin and Demetra’s federal lawsuit was filed in mid-August…

“…in the US District Court for the District of Maryland, alleging breach of contract, negligence, malicious fraud, misrepresentation and intentional infliction of emotional distress, among other claims.”

“The complaint claims that in the wake of the incident, Demetra has been seeing a psychiatrist and taking prescription Zoloft for her depression, panic attacks, post-traumatic street disorder and social anxiety disorder.”

Did two women – Demetra Street and Renee Cook – pay for two funeral services, one a fake?

The funeral home’s president, Brandon Wylie, told the Baltimore Sun that he denies Demetra’s claims:

“Due to restrictions imposed by our confidentiality requirements and the existence of pending litigation, we are not at liberty to disclose all of the information relevant to this matter.  However, we vehemently deny the claims advanced by Ms. Street and assert that the underlying matter was handled with the utmost sensitivity toward the loved ones of the deceased.”

There are a lot of “alleged” this and “allegedly” thats in the media coverage, but here’s what seems fairly clear-cut to me:

Wylie Funeral Home held two services for one dead man.

Two women paid for two services for one dead man.

Somebody’s…

But until this is sorted out, the Wylie team can stand tall, knowing that they kept the promise on their home page.

Demetra Street definitely has “impactful final memories” of her late husband:

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