Avid Goodwill Shopper Hopes To Reunite Found Urn With Family

WBBM Newsradio Staff
February 01, 2020 - 12:39 pm

(Robert Ray)


PEORIA, Ill. (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- A man in Peoria is on a search after a knicknack purchased at a Goodwill turned out to be so much more.

Robert Ray says he loves browsing for bargains at Goodwill. Last month, he was shopping at the second-hand store on Dec. 30 when he spotted something that looked familiar.

The tag said figurine. The price: less than three dollars. But Ray said it looked like an urn meant to carry small amounts of ashes, usually when ashes are split up among multiple individuals. The urn is about 7 cm high. 

He was right. It was an urn — with ashes inside.

Small urns like the one Ray found are used when the ashes are separated among several loved ones. (Robert Ray)

Now, Ray said he's trying to reunite the urn with the family that might have accidentally donated it to Goodwill.

"I would like to believe the family didn’t mean to donate them or maybe were cleaning out a house and didn’t even realize it was in the Goodwill pile," Ray wrote on Facebook, where he first shared the news that quickly spread throughout the community.

He told WBBM he hopes the family will be reunited with the urn. He said the only reason why he knew the item was special was because his aunt died in August and he saw her urn a week before he went to Goodwill.

"My thoughts went to my aunt and I knew if it was her, my family would want it back," he said.

The urn has a flag and eagle design, indicating that the remains might have belonged to a veteran.

"I’m an avid goodwill shopper," Ray said. "I go twice a week usually and I have never run across anything as strange as this, and not for a lack of trying."

According to Ray, the communications director of the Goodwills of central Illinois will discuss the finding on Monday after seeing it in the Peoria Star.