Widower seeks return of the irreplaceable: his wife's ashes

January 10, 2011

Bob Herrle didn’t need long to sort through what was missing from his “ransacked” house after returning from church Sunday.

He quickly noticed burglars had taken a television, a camera, a laptop and even his chainsaw.

The tally of stolen property ticked upward with each minute.

A little more than half-an-hour into his search, he walked upstairs and his heart dropped: his wife’s ashes were gone.

“That to me was the greatest loss,” Herrle said. “Other things can all be replaced by insurance and money. You just can’t replace that.”

The urn was taken during burglaries at several houses Sunday morning on the 14000 blocks of Spiritwood Loop and Delwood Drive in Black Forest. Two men seen driving a stolen Honda Pilot are suspected of breaking into the houses.

A silver sport utility vehicle with the license plate 665-UXF was seen in the area Sunday. The plates matched a Honda Pilot reported stolen Jan. 4 in Colorado Springs.

The Sheriff’s Office issued a plea to the burglars to return the urn, no questions asked, at a fire station or other public location so that it can be returned to the owner. Anyone with information can call the sheriff’s office at (719) 390-5555.

Herrle, an Air Force veteran, said he wants nothing more than the cremains of Terry, his wife of more than 50 years.

The two met in Texas while he was at navigation school, eventually moving to California where she served as the director of a 300-child preschool.

They moved to Black Forest in the mid-1990s, quickly finding a church and establishing a garden on their 5-acre property filled with “everyithng from daisies to a lot of plants I’ve never heard of before,” Herrle said.

She died on Jan. 1, 2009 of ovarian cancer.

The ashes were kept for a reason, Herrle said. He planned to have his ashes mixed with hers so they could be spread in a garden, possibly one in southern Alabama.

He hopes that still can happen.

“I don’t know where her ashes are now, but I know where she is,” Herrle said. “So the thing with the ashes is really symbolic. We’ll be in heaven again.”

Call the writer at 476-1654.

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