A potential buyer for the Eternal Hills Cemetery was identified in a federal court filing last week.
Stukel Memorial Services — a new company started by Klamath Falls native Travis Sandusky — is working with the former owner’s family trust to purchase the cemetery property, a motion filed in federal court showed.
In June, a federal bankruptcy judge ruled that Robert Gordon and his family trust could not own the cemetery, which had fallen into disrepair and bankruptcy under Gordon’s care. That ruling originally gave the Gordon Trust 60 days to find a qualified buyer and Monday was slated to be the deadline.
However, the Gordon Trust asked last week in a court motion for a month-long extension since the deal with Sandusky and Stukel Memorial Services was well underway. Federal court records show that Judge Thomas Renn granted the extension, moving the sale deadline to September 15.
Sandusky is licensed by the state as a mortician and embalmer, the motion stated, making him plausibly qualified to own and operate the cemetery. According to the June ruling against Gordon, state law bars anyone without an appropriate cemetery license to purchase a cemetery.
Sandusky and his wife, Alice, have owned and operated Cascade Cremation & Burial on E. Main Street since last year. Before opening the cremation and burial business, the couple remodeled an old funeral home at the location. The couple also operated Redwood Memorial Chapel and Crematory in Brookings in the decade prior to returning to Klamath Falls.
“I’ve watched from a distance the ethical failures that have plagued the funeral industry in Klamath Falls over the past few years,” Sandusky said last year when the couple opened Cascade Cremation & Burial. “We felt it was time to do something.”
According to the motion, Sandusky signed a letter of intent to purchase the property on July 20. Two days later, the articles of incorporation were filed with the state Secretary of State for the newly formed Stukel Memorial Services — which shares the same address as the Eternal Hills Cemetery.
The parties to the sale and their lawyers have “exchanged several drafts” of a proposed agreement and are “down to two or three issues,” the motion stated. Sandusky’s attorney has ordered title work to be completed for the sale “on a rush basis, however, the title company is experiencing a backlog and will need some time.”
Attempts to reach Sandusky on Monday were unsuccessful.
Editor's note: An editing error appeared briefly in the online edition of this story. Travis Sandusky is not related to former Eternal Hills owner Robert Gordon.