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Urn With Great-Grandmother’s Ashes Found In Ceiling

November 10, 1988

NEW YORK (AP) _ Nearly two decades after a child with a penchant for hiding things stashed his great-grandmother’s ashes in the attic, a contractor renovating the house found them.

Bill Griffiths discovered the urn containing Louisa Godden’s ashes Monday in the ceiling above the front door of the home in suburban Glen Cove.

″When we first saw the can, we didn’t know what it was. When we saw on the label, ‘remains of,’ we knew what it was″ Griffith said Wednesday.

″We didn’t want to throw it away on the Dumpster and send it out to sea,″ the contractor said. ″I knew if it was my grandmother or great-grandmother, I would want to know.″

Griffith called the Long Island newspaper Newsday. A friend of James Kingston, who hid the urn, saw the story.

Kingston’s grandparents lived in the house until they moved to Alpine, Calif., in 1977, said John Kunit, Kingston’s grandfather and the dead woman’s son-in-law.

Kingston, a 30-year-old contractor living in Alpine, said he remembers putting the urn in the attic when he was about 11.

″It’s a real good hiding spot,″ he said. ″I figured if anybody found it, it would really shake them up.″

″He was always up to something when he was a kid,″ said Kingston’s grandmother, Ethel Kunit.

The Kunits lost track of the urn after they moved. Kunit said he thought his son, Don, had taken it with him. ″We thought he had it, he loved his grandmother so much, and he thought we had it,″ he said.

News that her mother’s ashes had been found was ″a very big surprise, a shock, in fact,″ Mrs. Kunit said.

The family friend who notified the Kunits has sent the urn to the family in California; they expect to receive it soon.

Kingston said he liked to leave notes about who had lived in the house in hiding places. He also buried dead animals in cans with messages. ″God only knows what’s in there,″ he said.

Crews renovating the house have stumbled across Kingston’s ″little attempt at immortality,″ Griffiths said. ″Every once in a while we take a ceiling down and down come memorabilia - little time capsules.″

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