"I'd been in the hospital that week for kidney stones," he explains. "I was in no mood or condition to put up with his crap."

Rather than dispatch a city official, Selby sent a police officer.

"The police officer was a peacekeeper," says Selby. "There had been a lot of" — he pauses to find the right word — "friction between Mr. Palmore and the whole Bruns family. If they were going to start fighting, I wanted someone there to break it up."

Jeff Palmore in the chapel of Bell Funeral Home. The casket is empty.
Jennifer Silverberg
Jeff Palmore in the chapel of Bell Funeral Home. The casket is empty.

Palmore had signed the form by the time the police officer arrived. "When I left," says Bruns, "I flipped him the bird. I probably shouldn't have done that, but I'd had enough."

"It's harassment," Palmore fumes.

Palmore's suit against Bruns and the city of Pacific on behalf of Marvel Mason Sr. reached small claims court in July. The judge ruled that the city had sovereign immunity but that Bruns' company, R. H. Bruns Vault and Monument, owed Palmore $225. Bruns immediately appealed the decision to the circuit court. Palmore amended his suit to include the $15,000 in punitive damages.

"I intend to go for the jugular," he says.

A new court date has not been set.

"I've told Mr. Palmore the problem is that he should have been a lawyer," Selby says. "He's an in-your-face kind of guy."

"Jeff Palmore is the one harassing me," says Bruns. "He finds nitpicking little things and goes on and on and on." Bruns is the fourth generation in his family to serve as Pacific's cemetery sexton. "In all those years," he says, "no one has ever complained about anything done by the Bruns family in the city cemeteries — until now."

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