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Community groups pitch in for cemetery upkeep

Sunset High School students (near to far) Shawna Grimes, Autumn Dawson and Makayla Capshaw repaint the markers at the Old County Cemetery. (Photo courtesy of Bob Berkowitz).
Sunset High School students (near to far) Shawna Grimes, Autumn Dawson and Makayla Capshaw repaint the markers at the Old County Cemetery. (Photo courtesy of Bob Berkowitz).

By Adam Madison

Triplicate staff writer

The Old County Cemetery's renovation was completed the first week of May, thanks to the dedicated efforts of a few community groups and the Crescent City Rotary Club for bringing them together.

Community groups, "actually got it done two weeks before we thought we would," Rotary President Scott Feller said.

The cemetery began in 1933 as a ‘potters-field,' where people who couldn't afford a cemetery plot were buried. Sixty Del Norte County residents had been laid to rest there by its closing in 1950.

Before the renovation began in mid-April, the cemetery was in shambles. The deteriorated fence, missing or unreadable markers and tree limb-strewn grounds were in dire need of repair.

Crescent City Rotary club member Bob Berkowitz was set on renovating the cemetery before Memorial Day. Because the next Rotary Club theme was ‘Sharing Rotary,' Berkowitz said that the renovation would be a good way to show "how we [Crescent City Rotarians] could share [civil-service] with other organizations."

His proposal at a Rotary meeting immediately caught Sunset High School principal Dennis Louy's attention. Community involvement is a leading premise of the high school, Louy said.

The high school students were able to get redwood donated for the missing markers then and repainted the names on each marker.

The Rotarians were at the site each weekend, power-sanding and applying three coats of Varathane to water seal the markers.

The Crescent City Fire Department and Crescent Fire Protection District volunteers offered their help by taking up a collection to replace the fence. The cemetery is on land owned by the Crescent City Fire Department, so volunteer firefighters have been doing general groundskeeping for years. Fire Chief Steve Wakefield said he "just thought it was part of the job."

Mark Decker, Rotarian and manager of Home Depot offered his help by donating the Varathane and the paintbrushes needed for the project. Home Depot was able to donate the supplies because of their "strong philosophy of giving back to the community," he said.

Dave Hopkins, mortician for Weir Funeral Home and Del Norte Historical Society member, supplied the research for finding the names and locations of those buried there.

Rural Human Services cleared out tree debris, cleaned up the trash and applied the final coat of paint to the fence.

Memorial Day weekend events

•Today – The Emblem Club will host a flag-placing ceremony at 2 p.m. at the Crescent City Cemetery. Call Junior Vice President Ailleene Martin at 707-465-5062.

The Brookings Memorial Day parade starts at 10 a.m.

The U.S. Army Future Soldiers will help the VFW and the Emblem Club place flowers 1 p.m. at the Crescent City Cemetery.

•Memorial Day – The Ladies Auxiliary is hosting a potluck beginning at noon. Call 707-465-6528

The Commercial Fisherman's Wives will be hosting Memorial Day services at the Citizens Dock at 1 p.m. Afterwards there will be cookies, punch and coffee at the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary hall.

 


Del Norte Triplicate:

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