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'I cry when I go there' | Families have yet to receive headstones for loved ones' graves at Assumption Cemetery

Assumption Cemetery in South Austin has come under criticism for not providing burial headstones in a timely fashion.

AUSTIN, Texas — All Grace Johnson wants is to be able to honor her father's life after she lost him to dementia in December 2021.

According to Johnson, her father began planning his funeral arrangements with Assumption Cemetery in South Austin 22 years ago.

In July 2022, her family began the process of obtaining a monument for him, finalizing the layout in September.

"At that time, we were told it was going to take four to six months," Johnson said.

But nearly two years after her father's death, his final resting place still isn't complete. 

"We were given excuses – it was delayed due to COVID, it was delayed due to the holidays, then it was delayed due to the ongoing problems that they were having with the monument company being back ordered due to COVID," Johnson said. "I cry when I go there. I feel like I'm not being a responsible daughter when I don't see his monument there."

Brenda Benavides has a similar story.

Her mother died two years ago, and Benavides said the headstone has been paid for, but she still has not yet gotten it. Her family says they have sent the cemetery multiple messages but are not getting the answers they are hoping for. 

"They keep giving us the runaround and keep saying that it's coming, and it never comes," Benavides said. "We want her to be, to have what she deserves, and it just looks like none of us care about her."

Property records show the cemetery is owned by the Catholic Cemetery Association and St. Edward's University. KVUE called cemetery staff multiple times for a comment but did not get a response by the time of publication. We also visited Assumption Cemetery, but the on-site office was closed and we were told to leave. 

Families say an unfinished resting place leaves them without a sense of closure. 

"I just feel that's part of one of my duties, is to take care of my mom and to ensure that his wishes are respected," Johnson said. 

KVUE has also been in contact with St. Edwards's University to get more information about the cemetery, but we have not received a response yet.

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