The ashes of a Brooklyn man who married his fourth wife without actually divorcing his third one are the crux of a highly unusual family dispute. Shirley Majors Mack, the third wife of nursing home worker Joseph Mack, and the rest of the Mack family is suing fourth wife Regina Brown for having Mack cremated instead of buried. "It's awful, very awful. I know nothing about this woman," said Majors Mack.
Mack and Majors Mack were married for 28 years; the two separated after he retired from a Brooklyn nursing home a few years ago, but they never made the split legal or got divorced. In the meantime, he married Brown in Nov. 2007, unbeknownst to his family, including his five children. "I don't know what the family thinks I am, but I am his wife. We met in 2004 and just latched on. We shacked up," Brown told the News.
When he died of cancer in Nov. 2008, Brown told the Robert Benjamin Funeral Home that he was to be cremated, even though the family wanted him to be buried along with his mother and brother in South Carolina. The family initially sued the funeral home, but the court ruled against them because the home had made a “good faith disposal” since Brown presented a certified marriage certificate bearing the seal of the city. The family believes Brown has Mack's ashes still: "I never knew she was my father's wife," Elaine Mack said. "I didn't even know she was in the picture and I'm distraught that she had him cremated the way she did...He was a bigamist," said Mack's daughter Elaine.