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UPDATE: Owner of urn containing ashes found at Salvation Army thrift store in Summerside found

Anna MacDonald, manager of the Salvation Army Thrift store, says it was a fist bump moment when she was able to locate the owner of a memento urn that was accidentally donated to the store.
Anna MacDonald, manager of the Salvation Army Thrift store, says it was a fist bump moment when she was able to locate the owner of a memento urn that was accidentally donated to the store. - Millicent McKay

‘Forever loved, always missed – a wonderful father’

SUMMERSIDE – The owner of a small, navy-coloured urn that was found at the Salvation Army Thrift Store in Summerside has been found.

Small urn with ashes inside discovered by staff at the Salvation Army thrift store in Summerside.
Small urn with ashes inside discovered by staff at the Salvation Army thrift store in Summerside.

Over the weekend staff from the store on Route 2 posted on social media of the urn's discovery hoping to find an owner or family member to return it to.

"I was contacted Monday morning by the cousin of the owner. The owner originally saw my post on Facebook, but she doesn't have access to a phone, so she messaged her cousin to reach out to us," said Anna MacDonald, manager of the store.

It is believed the urn was donated by accident to the store after a load of donations were dropped off at the location.

“We started to process the items when one of our staff members all of a sudden came to me with this box and said, ‘is this what I think it is?’ and sure enough it was an urn with what we believe is cremated human ashes in it,” she explained.

Terry Matthews was one of the staff members who found the object.

“It had caught my eye for some reason. So, I took to another one of the people who helps sort the items. Then they took it to Anna. I didn’t even know what I was looking at. But I’m glad we’ve been able to reunite it with people who care for it.”

MacDonald said there was one key piece of information, about the palm sized memento, she didn't tell anybody in order to identify the rightful owner of the object.

"It's a bit different than other urns. So, I asked the cousin 'how does it open.' She then went to the owner and asked the question. The only way they would have known the correct answer was if they were familiar with the object. As soon as she got it right it felt like a fist bump moment. We're happy we've been able to reunite this object with the right person."

MacDonald says the owner, who moved to Ontario, didn't mean to leave the urn behind.

"They had already left P.E.I. when their home was being cleaned out, so they weren't there to claim the urn. They said they will be coming back to the Island in the coming months and will collect the urn then.”

For now, staff at the store maintain the object will be treated with respect until returned to the rightful owner.

millicent.mckay@journalpioneer.com


ORIGINAL STORY

SUMMERSIDE, P.E.I. - A worker at the Salvation Army thrift store in Summerside recently came across an item that probably wasn’t supposed to be donated: A small navy-coloured urn.

“We had a whole load of stuff arrive on the deck Friday morning, and as we started to process the items one of our staff members all of a sudden came to me with this box and said, ‘is this what I think it is?’ and sure enough it was an urn with what we believe is cremated human ashes in it,” said Anna MacDonald, the store manager.

“It looks like it came with items taken from an apartment or house that got emptied quickly because some of the bedding was just wrapped up together and tied in a knot and brought to us, so for that reason we think it was totally accidental,” she added.

The sealed urn that’s about three inches tall has no identifying marks, except an inscription that reads ‘Forever loved, always missed – a wonderful father.’

MacDonald believes because of the size of the vessel it may only contain a portion of the ashes, and other similar urns may be in existence.

Staff wrapped the urn in transparent plastic after the contents started to leak.

“We hope someone recognizes the urn and claims it,” she continued. “It’s certainly one of the most surprising things we have discovered, and we find all sorts of things in the donated piles.”

Items that have been found by staff at the thrift store include full birth certificates, health cards, including divorce papers tucked inside bags.

MacDonald noted, “We are being very respectful and treating the urn with kindness until someone claims it, but if no one comes then we will probably bury it.”

In the meantime, staff will wait to see if the urn’s owner comes forward. Anyone with information about the urn is being asked to contact the Salvation Army thrift store, located at 79 All Weather Highway in Summerside. The office can be contacted at 902-436-4519 or visit their Facebook page.

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