MADISON, Wis. -

Funerals are difficult occasions for most families. But for one Madison family, the death of a loved one was made even harder after thieves stole sympathy cards and money during the service.

The funeral was for Linda Stanley's father. She said the cards were taken in just a matter of minutes. "The funeral director walked in with us to get the casket and during the first fifteen minutes before they came out, the box was gone," Stanley said.

The box was stolen from St. Bernard's church on Atwood Avenue on Madison's east side. Stanley said she cared about the cards and the condolences for a man who loved life.

"He was 89-years-old, he was full of life, he loved his family, he loved his kids and he loved his grand kids," Stanley said. "The cards are a part of that grieving process and it's just a violation of us as a family."

Her father, Ray Riphon was diagnosed with liver cancer in early November. He died on Thanksgiving Day. 

Stanley said she doesn't want the money in the cards back, just the cards themselves.

"We would have donated the money, so it isn't about the money, it's about the cards and the healing process for us," Stanley said.

Anyone with information can call Madison police or Gunderson Funeral Home in Monona. If the cards or box is found, Stanley asks it be returned to the church.