After an urn of ashes is misplaced in a Moncton motel, the family asks for the public’s help

Mary Bower was to be laid to rest this weekend, surrounded by her family on the shores of Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, where she grew up.

But after transporting his ashes from Alberta on a final trip across Canada before the big departure, Bower’s sons accidentally misplaced his urn during a stop in Moncton, New Brunswick.

Now his family is appealing to the public to help get him back.

“Just the idea that his ashes are out there – who knows where, if they were thrown in the trash or if someone has them. It’s just very upsetting,” said Jennifer Muise, Bower’s niece. .

Muise said Bower was originally from Yarmouth but moved to Alberta, where two of his sons, Joey and Andrew Bower, also live.

She had wanted to return to Yarmouth to visit in 2020, however, the COVID-19 pandemic hit, pushing back those plans.

Mary Bower passed away in December 2020 after a long battle with cancer. (Submitted by Jennifer Muise)

Before she could make a final visit, Bower died in December 2020 at age 61, after a years-long battle with cancer.

“We couldn’t reach her when she was sick,” said Muise, who lives in Yarmouth.

“About a year ago, [Bower’s sons] started planning this trip home to bring her home.”

Confusion after broken window

Muise said two of the sons traveled from Alberta to meet their brother in Ontario last week.

From there they traveled through Quebec and New Brunswick, intending to stop in Prince Edward Island before finally ending in Yarmouth.

The three sons — Joey, Andrew and David Bower — stayed at Motel 6 in Moncton on Sunday night, and on Monday morning they woke up to find the back window of David’s car had been smashed. Nothing seemed to have been stolen.

They decided to transfer all the items from David’s car to Joey’s car and continued their journey later that day before realizing that the backpack containing their mother’s urn was missing.

“And in the mixture of all that is transferred, [David] think the satchel with my aunt’s ashes was accidentally left on the ground outside…and they went back to get it and it was gone,” Muise said.

I hope someone will do the right thing and give it back.​​-Jennifer Muise

Muise said the three brothers had spoken to hotel staff and left their contact details, but had still not heard from the ashes.

“Hopefully someone will do the right thing and give it back,” Muise said.

“Whatever is in the backpack is inconsequential. It doesn’t matter to us. It’s just the ashes we would like to recover.”

“She was very, very special to me”

Muise, 45, said her aunt held a special place in her heart.

When her mother died seven years ago, she said Bower stepped in and filled a void.

Jennifer Muise says her aunt, Mary Bower, was like a mother to her after hers died seven years ago. (Submitted by Jennifer Muise)

“She was my aunt, but she was very, very special to me,” she said.

“She kind of took over, and I’ve grown now, but I still need a mum. And she was just the person I always talked to. We talked a lot and she was very, very important to me.”

Muise said about 30 family members from across Canada were expected to gather in Yarmouth to honor Bower.

She said the plan was for her three sons to arrive on Friday and later hold a ceremony to scatter her ashes by the ocean.

“It was really important to be able to do that and say goodbye because it’s been… not even really real because she’s come so far.

“So to be able to have that, this last goodbye is very important.”


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