When David Sandbeck lost his dad to lymphoma a year ago, he thought it would be the last time he would experience any further sadness from his parent passing away.
Unfortunately, when his St. Paul, Minnesota apartment was broken into, robbers stole a box containing pieces from his father's life: a leather-bound Bible and an urn filled with the ashes of his late dad. Police were able to catch the homeless man responsible for the burglaries, but they found none of the mementos.
“It’s irrational, but I just wanted a little something [to remember him by],” said Sandbeck. “It bothered me that someone would take something with no value to them.”
Little did he know, the small keepsake hadn't strayed too far from him.
Eight months later and two miles away, Casey Lowen was headed to work when she saw the urn sitting on the ledge outside her St. Paul apartment. She put it safely in her bag and decided to track down the owner of the cremated ashes. On her neighborhood Facebook page, the Midway-Frogtown Exchange, under the title “Lost loved one,” she posted a message about the missing item. She also displayed an image of the sealed urn, making sure to show the engraved “Lee Hallgren 1940-2014” on the front.
Many of her neighbors had seen the odd container lying on her lawn days before she had picked it up, but just guessed that it was hers. Some suggested that she hand the ashes over to the police. Although she thought about it, she felt it was better to hold on to the vessel and hope that someone would come forward to claim it.
Her prayers were answered when a woman who remembered Hallgren from his time at the Southview Acres Health Care Center e-mailed Sandbeck’s mother a link to an article discussing Lowen’s search for Hallgren’s family. Sandbeck quickly got in contact with Lowen, showed her his father's death certificate, and then the pair planned to meet to go through with the exchange.
Sandbeck realizes how lucky he is to be reunited with his father's urn. After scattering the majority of his ashes at their frequent vacation spot, Gooseberry Falls State Park, Sandbeck would have been left with nothing of his dad. Thanks to the kindness of one stranger, the urn has been returned to him and is even more sentimental than it was before.
“It has more value when you lose something and get it back,” said Sandbeck.
via Star Tribune