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Regional & National

Woman denied burial in East Tennessee church cemetery despite family's land donation

September 20th, 2011 10:53 am by Staff Report

CLINTON (AP) — An Anderson County Church says it followed protocol when it denied burial in the church cemetery to the family of an 83-year-old woman who died.

Fairview Free Will Baptist Church told the family of Virginia Smith that Smith had not attended church in years or contributed financially to it, therefore didn't meet criteria for burial in the one-acre cemetery.

Linda Graves — Smith's daughter — told The Knoxville News Sentinel her mother had belonged to the congregation for 37 years and her family donated part of the land for the cemetery years ago (http://bit.ly/n2vaG0).

Church cemetery committee member Jim Bacon said he apologized to the family and said policy might be changed as a result.

Smith died Saturday. Her body was interred at the Hines Creek Baptist Church Cemetery.

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Information from: The Knoxville News Sentinel, http://www.knoxnews.com

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