Queens widow gets husband's headstone thanks to 7 On Your Side

QUEENS, New York (WABC) -- It wasn't easy for the Queens widow to save up more than $5,000 to buy the impressive black granite headstone -- a tribute to her long lost husband.

But months after it was paid in full, instead of installation, the family says they got frustrated.

When Marva Phillips walks through the rows of headstones at the cemetery where her husband is buried, the empty space above him is akin to the void in her heart.

"We were married 43 years, have six children," Marva said.

Everyone else around where he was laid to rest has a monument, except her Elbert.

"It hurts because my mother and father are here," she said. "My family's here."

In fall 2019, Marva paid a Queens monument company to make a marker for husband and father Elbert Phillips.

"I gave her $5,100," Marva said. "I ordered it two years ago. I gave her half."

She paid the second half in September of last year -- the monument should've been finished and installed last December.

So, she went to their Queens building, but instead found a beauty shop and no forwarding address.

"Even when she closed her store here in Astoria, she never called me," Marva said.

7 On Your Side asked if the company picked up her call.

"No," Marva said. "She doesn't answer no phone calls, no texts, nothing."

Her son Jamil tracked the monument company to their new location in Manhattan.

"Going to the location, usually no one's there," she said. "I reached out, no one called me back."

So, they called 7 On Your Side and we contacted them.

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The owner said she had to special order a large double-sided stone, and then the rough winter weather delayed installation for months.

"COVID delays with delivery, shipping, and staffing," the company told 7 On Your Side.

She denied ever ghosting the family, but promised to install as soon as possible.

The monument was placed just a few days later.

Marva was crying tears of joy as the granite tribute to her husband was finally in place.

"I am so excited and so relieved that somebody listened to me," Marva said. "I just want to thank you because you listen and you feel."

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