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County condemns mausoleum at Forest Lawn

July 27, 2021

Laurens, S.C.  – After months working to get the owner of Forest Lawn Mausoleum to make badly needed repairs, Chuck Bobo, the director of Building Codes for Laurens County, placed a condemned notice  on the structure today, Tuesday, July 27.

Since early last fall, crypt owner David Owens of Laurens has tried to get the owner of Forest Lawn Mausoleum to return calls about repairing the damage but the company long ago quit answering his calls.

“We have been working with South Carolina Labor, Licensing and Regulations Agency and have written a summons to take Forest Lawn to court,” said Bobo. “The building is posted as condemned and we’re working with the owners to get this resolved. They claim they have secured a contractor and they gave us his name and a cost estimate but there is no start date.”

Bobo said the local owner put up tape to keep people out prior to the county’s action today.

“The owner put up the tape a month or two ago and we put the condemned signs on it today,” Bobo said. 

Water which was already collecting after each small rainfall last October continues to flow as the cracks in the walls have gotten larger.

Tarp had been flowing down from the roof since last summer and open holes in the ceiling had been allowing water to pool at the base of many of the crypt fronts. Cracks had already been visible in the upper walls above other crypts and since fall the water issues have only gotten worse.

“I hope my wife and I don’t need them for a long time, but my wife and I have bought spots there,” said David Owens. ” I have tried calling the company in Pennsylvania since last year and they quit answering my calls a long time ago. I have church friends buried there and there are veterans buried there and they deserve more respect that that.”

Forest Lawn Cemetery and Mausoleum are in what’s referred to as a “donut hole,” and though it’s surrounded by the City of Laurens it’s actually not within Laurens City Limits. It didn’t keep Laurens Mayor Nathan Senn from also making calls to the owner in Pennsylvania last fall and his calls also went unanswered, as did calls made by The Advertiser.

Now that the structure has been condemned, Owens said he hopes that the company will do the right thing.

“Even the local office quit taking my calls,” Owens said. “It’s disrespectful to the people buried there.”


  1. Debbie Baumberger on July 28, 2021 at 6:14 am

    I also have a double crypt at Forest Lawn Cemetary am disgusted with the way this is being handle. My crypt is on the second row from top on right hand side facing back of mausoleum covered with the tarp. I do not have family here but I do have friends here and I am concerned. This is such a disgrace to the loved ones there and even our county.

    • Dorothy A Lida on July 31, 2021 at 11:11 am

      I have family & friends in the mausoleum & cemetery. Also in the sister cemetery Forest Lawn East. All of the properties are in need of repairs. The company ignores all of the complaints. At the East site graves & markers are sinking. It is a danger to walk through because of hundreds of fire ant hills & millions of fire ants. Surely the county can force some repairs.

  2. Lynn Caughman on July 28, 2021 at 10:45 am

    I have family that are buried in this cemetery and know people in the mausoleum. I find it a disgrace that people pay good money to be buried here or put in a crypt and this kind of stuff happens. Wish I had the money to move all my loved ones to a better place. Please make that company in Pennsylvania come down and spa sewer for the lack of care they are providing. Sue them for the damages, stress and everything you can get out of them. Glad I didn’t buy a plot here!!

  3. Suzanne on July 28, 2021 at 11:57 pm

    I did not see a reason for the state of this building. What happened for it to be in such a state of disrepair? The building does not look very old. It also said it was not in Laurens County, but surrounded by it. It has to fall into a county jurisdiction. They may have to go back as far as when Laurens County was created and which county it may have been created from. What a horrible mess. God bless the families that have loved ones there.

    • Judith Brown on January 3, 2022 at 8:03 am

      Advertiser: We explained that it was condemned by Laurens County officials because it is in a “donut hole” surrounded by the city but is still a part of Laurens County. So the city has no jurisdiction and no voice in the problems. Only Laurens County officials could make the move to condemn property.

  4. Sherry C. Jennings on August 3, 2021 at 9:28 pm

    I have a double Mausoleum Vault on C level , back right, which I purchased ten years ago.I have been trying to get my 20 year old Daughter’s Ashes Interned . I was given an Appointment with them August , 23, 2020 at 2:00 to discuss previous concerns regarding the state of the Mausoleum, and an exchange for a ground plots. I went to the appointment, but no one was there. My calls go unanswered. I did however receive a letter this past week. It stated that they are working on the structure . That it will be costly and time consuming, and that they would appreciate my understanding! No! I don’t understand. I have Health issues, and would like to know that my child’s remains have permanent placement . I want a ground Plot , or my money returned !

    • Christine L Pennington on December 4, 2021 at 10:29 pm

      Can someone please give me the name and number of the owner? I need to speak with someone about my ground plot.

      Thank you
      Christine Pennington

      • Judith Brown on January 3, 2022 at 7:55 am

        The Advertiser was never able to get in touch with the owner.

  5. David Owens on September 9, 2022 at 8:18 pm

    Did Laurens county building codes make sure that update to code now 9/9/22

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