Bodies inside funeral home were sisters

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 13, 2012

By Sarah Campbell
SALISBURY — The bodies of Effie Leazer Stiller and Marie Elma Miller, sisters who both died Wednesday, were inside Lyerly Funeral Home when the fire began Friday afternoon.
Sondra Stiller, Effie Stiller’s daughter-in-law, said the women were “dressed and ready” for a private viewing at 2 p.m. Friday and services scheduled for today.
“We’re just devastated that they couldn’t get the bodies out,” she said. “We thought it was odd that they died on the same day 20 hours apart. Now this has happened.”
The lids on the caskets were closed, Stiller said. “We’re hoping that there is something that is salvageable,” she said. “We don’t know what condition they’re in.”
Effie Stiller, 91, and Miller, 84, were Rowan County natives.
The family found out about the blaze when Stiller’s nephew saw flames from his Thomas Street home and walked down to the funeral home on South Main Street.
Stiller said flowers from Harrison’s Florist had already been delivered to the funeral home. Visitations and funerals for both women were set for today.
“At this point, we’re just waiting,” she said. “We don’t know what to do.”
Funeral home president Brent Lyerly told the Post he hoped the bodies could be recovered.
Contact Sarah Campbell at 704-797-7683.