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Bag of Dad’s Ashes Is Lost in Restaurant

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Today was the day that Barbara Keathley and her three grieving siblings were planning to gather and watch precious home videos of their father, Jack Rother, who died this month. It would also be a time to divide his ashes.

But the videos of weddings, vacations and their father’s memorial service were lost when Keathley accidentally left her camera bag behind after eating dinner at Las Brisas restaurant in Laguna Beach. Also inside the light blue nylon camera bag were her father’s ashes.

“I thought [the camera bag] was safer than my purse,” a distraught Keathley said Saturday. “I didn’t even trust to leave any of it in my luggage.”

Keathley, who lives in St. Louis, had originally planned to travel to Southern California for a 50th birthday party with two close friends who had also recently reached that milestone. But before she left, her 73-year-old father, a retired yacht salesman, died while playing tennis in Coronado on Feb. 13.

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“Before I got on the plane, I collected all of the videotapes I had of my father,” said Keathley. The newest tape was from a vacation to San Francisco she took with him only three weeks before he died.

“I wanted everyone to see that tape because he was having fun,” she said.

A few day’s after Rother’s Feb. 22 memorial service, Keathley and her two friends decided to have their birthday dinner anyway.

“I had the video camera there and after shooting some film, I put the bag under the table,” she recalled of the Wednesday night dinner. “But after dinner, we rushed out of there. It wasn’t until the following morning when we were ready to pack up that I realized it was missing. I then remembered I had left it under the table. We drove back to the restaurant and no one had seen it.”

Keathley is offering a reward of $400 for the return of the videos and the ashes and a total of $1,000 if the camera is returned as well. She is also offering an unspecified reward for information leading to the recovery of the items. The family can be reached at (619) 368-5225.


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