There’s another strange wrinkle in the death of Grant Solomon, and we believe it’s worth sharing. The issue might seem innocuous, even good, but it’s seriously creepy when viewed in context.
That’s right — at a time when the median cost of a funeral with viewing is north of $7,000, Grace Chapel picked up the tab.
To be clear, we don’t oppose churches helping people. Not at all. Anglican Watch believes all human beings must address suffering without regard to race, ethnicity, faith, gender, sexual orientation, or any other issue. That obligation extends to faith communities.
We’d also be the first to say that, in cases of an unexpected death, community members should help if the family is in need.
But Aaron Solomon is a guy who receives $100,000 checks from a trust fund. He’s a guy who is not — or should not — be flat broke.
Nor was the decision made with any discussion, notably with Grant’s mother, Angie. And we reject complementarianism or the notion that the man is the head of the house.
The notion that Aaron doesn’t get to call the shots is doubly the case when Aarson is a substantiated child sex abuser. Not to mention that he was no longer married to Angie. And Grant lived with Angie, not Aaron. So Aaron is lucky to get the time of day.
As we understand it, Pam Stephens, the funeral home owner, walked into the planning room and announced that Grace Chapel was picking up the tab. Full stop.
On top of that, the church had already made clear that Angie was on the outs. And, since the church decided to pick up the tab without consultation, it had no way to know if, for example, Angie had just come into money. Thus, the church’s decision helped Aaron, not Angie.
Also weird is that the church gave carte blanche to the funeral plans. What if the family decided to build a freestanding mausoleum? Or have a limousine for each person at the funeral? It’s not precisely Angie’s style, but some would do it.
Yet another weird thing: The mad scramble to get Grant buried.
Even at the hospital moments after Grant’s death, Aaron allegedly called vocalists for the funeral.
What kind of parent starts calling vocalists after the death of their son? Yes, folks here at Anglican Watch tend to keep a stiff upper lip, but Aaron’s behavior sounds callous and strange even to us.
Adding to the weirdness, Aaron’s reaction to the news was odd. Never at a loss for words, Aaron purportedly began to stammer and act flummoxed when Pam Stephens announced that the church was picking up the tab.
Then we get to Pam Stephen’s efforts to avoid returning Grant’s clothes. Initially, she claimed the hospital had them. Later, she reversed course and admitted she destroyed them, allegedly because they were biohazards. Ummm.
Finally, we note the allegations that the funeral home broke Grant’s ankles. There’s no way this was necessary, and it would be unethical and illegal. That raises so many questions:
- Was Pam Stephens attempting a cover-up?
- Was Steve Berger trying to ensure Angie couldn’t get her hands on the funeral home billing?
- Was the purported damage to Grant’s body an effort to create fake injuries supporting Aaron’s outlandish claims about Grant’s death?
- Was the church trying to conceal the murder of an 18-year-old boy?
- Is Grace Chapel a co-conspirator in Grant’s death?
- And why did Pam Stephens file an affidavit in the Solomon litigation?
If nothing else, most funeral directors we know — and folks here at AW know quite a few — are careful to avoid getting drawn into intra-family disputes.
Funeral consumers take note. Funerals are a business that requires absolute integrity, and that is not what we see from Pam Stephens or the funeral home. In other words, we would avoid Williamson Memorial Funeral & Cremation Services like the plague. And we’d avoid Pam Stephens like the Ten Plagues of Egypt. Come to think of it, dealing with the Ten Plagues sounds pretty good compared to dealing with Pam.
We will eventually learn the answers to these and many related questions.
In the meantime, is the church’s decision to pay for the funeral illegal? Not in itself.
But the weird behavior at the funeral home, the strange circumstances, and other issues, taken as a whole, make it clear something is wrong. Very wrong.
It also underscores the weird, incestuous relationship between Grace Chapel, Steve Berger, and Aaron Solomon.
We need to learn the details.
FBI, take note.