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Psst: Did you mistakenly donate family ashes to Goodwill?

A small urn, donated somewhere in southwest or central Washington, turned up at the Yelm Goodwill store. It’s about 3 inches tall.
A small urn, donated somewhere in southwest or central Washington, turned up at the Yelm Goodwill store. It’s about 3 inches tall. Staff writer

Workers at the Yelm Goodwill recently came across an item that probably wasn’t supposed to be donated: A small urn.

“Our production worker was just sorting through a box of miscellaneous goods and he came across it,” said Susanna Rink, assistant manager at the Goodwill at 906 E. Yelm Ave.

“To be honest, we don’t know if it came in our own community or through another form of donation. It could have come from any of our 36 stores, or one of the several drop-off locations.”

The urn is brass-colored, about 3 inches tall, sealed, and believed to be filled with cremated remains. Store officials took it to the Yelm Cemetery.

Wendy Dionne said the Cemetery Board hopes a family will recognize the urn and claim it.

The urn has a sticker on the bottom with a partial name that could help confirm identification. There’s also a date that indicates that the container was made, bought or sealed during the 1990s, Dionne said.

Given its size, the urn could contain a pet, a baby or possibly adult remains that have been divided among family members, according to Dionne.

Urns with cremated remains end up in donations for the thrift store chain about once a year, said George White, a spokesman for Goodwill of the Olympics and Rainier Region, which covers an area from Tacoma to Longview and includes Yakima and the Washington coast.

“Usually this shows up and the donor has no idea they did it,” he said.

“The vast majority of them are pets.”

White said urns sometimes get donated in boxes that are leftover from estate sales.

“I think it’s important particularly when you’re donating someone else’s household goods to be very careful with what’s in the boxes,” White said.

Anyone with information about the urn can call Dionne at 360-458-5377.

Lisa Pemberton: 360-754-5433, @Lisa_Pemberton

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