Rigby woman’s rings recovered after mistakenly being cremated

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Rings belonging to Marlene Ladendorff’s mother were recovered after mistakenly being cremated. | Courtesy Marlene Ladendorff

RIGBY — Marlene Ladendorff is breathing a big sigh of relief after cremated rings belonging to her mother were recovered over the weekend.

“The relief I feel is indescribable,” Ladendorff says. “This is so amazing.”

As EastIdahoNews.com reported Saturday, the four rings belonged to Ladendorff’s 83-year-old mother, Zelma Rae Ladendorff. When Zelma Rae died Dec. 14, Ladendorff told workers at Wood Funeral Home she wanted to keep the rings.

“My plan was to take the diamonds from those rings and put them into mine so that I’d have her and Dad with me,” Ladendorff says.

Marlene Ladendorff was supposed to inherit four rings her mother, Zelma Rae, always wore on her left hand. | Courtesy Marlene Ladendorff

Brian Wood, the co-owner of Wood Funeral Home, told EastIdahoNews.com last week the rings were mistakenly cremated with Zelma Rae’s body due to “human error.”

“I take full responsibility for the mistake, and we’re truly sorry,” Wood said. “This should not have happened, and I want to do whatever it takes to make things right for Marlene.”

Parts of the rings were able to recovered following the cremation. | Courtesy Marlene Ladendorff

Ladendorff says she took her mother’s remains to Wilks Funeral Home in Chubbuck, and workers there did a thorough search of the ashes.

“They found a large chunk of material immediately which was melted gold and one of the half-carat diamonds still in the setting,” Ladendorff recalls. “I cried immediately – tears of joy.”

Ladendorff plans to take the remaining parts of the ring to a jeweler and have them cleaned up to be made into a new ring.

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