SEASIDE, Calif. (KION)
Family and community members are mourning the loss of long-standing Marina Leader Edith Johnsen and say laying her to rest with a proper memorial for her has been difficult for them.
Former Marina Mayor and Monterey County Supervisor Edith Johnsen passed away of natural causes in April.
She served as a local leader, teacher and even as a mentor to other community leaders, according to her youngest son, Kenneth Johnsen.
He says his family is facing obstacles arranging a proper farewell to her due to some changes in ceremonial processes caused by the impact of the ongoing pandemic.
He said the goal was to have her placed next to her husband at the California Central Coast Veterans Cemetery, a place she played a huge role in creating.
"We're not able to do anything right now. Yes, the mortuary has some virtual type memorial service but we made the decision as a family that that's not the way we wanted to go, that's not the way we wanted her to be remembered," says Kenneth Johnsen.
Staff from the cemetery said just like other places, they had to make some changes in their workplace to adhere with current health and safety guidelines.
Erica Chaney is a manager for the Central Coast Veterans Cemetery and says they are unable to offer any memorial and military honor services at this time.
Direct interment placements are being allowed at the cemetery with a group of up to 10 people who are allowed to watch from curbside.
Chaney says construction will provide in-ground burial options, which they anticipate to be complete towards the end of the year or early next year.
"Most people have been very understanding and just know that this is just the situation we are in. I knew Edith, she's very well known in the community. She's such a kind smart woman so it was very hard learning about her passing," says Chaney.
She says their doors are currently closed to the public but visitation hours and direct interment placements are still available for anyone who needs them.
As for the memorial services for Edith Johnsen, Chaney says she is following up.
For now, Kenneth Johnsen says he and his family are honoring his mother in other ways like sharing pictures and memories of her on social media pages.
He says his family is holding onto her ashes until they can give her the memorial they say she deserves.
Kenneth Johnsen says he hopes they can move forward with her memorial service sometime in November, which would be right around her birthday.
For information, contact the California Central Coast Veterans Cemetery at (831) 393-9371