News from Friends of Jacksonville’s Historic Cemetery – July 2017

Educational Programs-—May was a very busy month and thanks to our volunteers, a very successful one! I would like thank Pam Smith who was my fellow docent for our first Tuesday Evening Stroll of the year on May 9, touring the Red Men sections of the Cemetery. Thank you to Lynn Ransford and Seth Weintraub for a fun and interesting presentation on “Entertainment and Leisure Time” at History Saturday in the Cemetery on May 13.

Community Clean-Up Day—Our sincere and grateful appreciation to all the Friends who showed up on Saturday, May 20 for the Pre-Memorial Day Community Clean-up of the Cemetery grounds: Lee and Janet Siedlecki, John Welsh, Mary Siedlecki, Bill Stanton, Kathy Waltz, Steve and Susan Casaleggio, Sue Miler and David Doi, Tony Hess, Alvarez Family: Andy, Emma, Becca and Kristina, Bev Helvie, Vivienne Grant, Mike & Kandee McClain and granddaughters Aiden, Morgan and Brooke.

Preparing the Cemetery for Memorial Day is always a challenge, however, given the weather we faced over the winter and into spring, it was even a bigger challenge. I can’t begin to express my appreciation to Cemetery Sexton Richard Shields and his assistant Eric Villarreal for all they did to ensure the Cemetery was ready and presentable to welcome families and visitors. I even saw them working up on the hill mowing grass and filling in low spots on their days off. While their job duties and responsibilities do not provide for full-time care of the Cemetery, it is amazing what they manage to do in their limited, budgeted hours directed toward the Cemetery.

Flags and Memorial Day Meet and Greet—Thank you to Tony and Joan Hess, Neal and Beverly Smith, Susan White, Vicki Lucus and Mary Siedlecki for helping place some 385 flags on the gravesites of those Veterans who rest in the Jacksonville Cemetery, on May 27. The flags purchased by the Friends of Jacksonville’s Historic Cemetery will be maintained and remain in place until after Veterans Day on November 11. It is such an honor to be able to remember our men and women who served our country in this small but important way.

Also thank you to Kathy Waltz, Mary Siedlecki, Joan Hess, and Betsy Sharp for being in the Cemetery on May 28 and 29 to assist families and visitors with locating the gravesites of loved ones. Thank you to those of you who made time to come by and say hello. It was a great Memorial Day Holiday for us all!

Upcoming July Events and Activities

History Saturday in the Cemetery, July 8, 10:00am—Join us for another interesting History Saturday topic, “Jacksonville Fires” which will be presented by Docents Dee Reynar and Ellen Martin. They tell me there may be some audience participation! This promises to be another look back at the history of Jacksonville and those who helped to make it the community that it is today. History Saturday in the Cemetery continues on the second Saturday of the month through September 9.

Tuesday Evening Cemetery Stroll, July 11, 6:30pm—This evening tour should be not only interesting but informative as Docents Ellen Martin and Pat Stancel take us on a tour of “Cemetery Art – Symbolism and Inscriptions.” Come and find out what all those hands, birds, trees, and flowers mean on the beautiful headstones and monuments that adorn our Cemetery. Our final Tuesday Evening Stroll of the year will be on Tuesday, August 8.

Both programs are free with no advance reservations required. Meet your Docents at the top of the Cemetery Road where you will find parking available. Donations are always appreciated and help support the work of our non-profit organization. Comfortable walking shoes, sunscreen and a hat are suggested.

Marker Cleaning Workshops, July 15, 9:00am—We welcome new volunteers to join our workshop on the third Saturday of each month through September 16. Learn how to clean and help preserve the beautiful markers for future generations to enjoy. This is a very worthwhile and feel-good project anyone can do. All the tools and supplies are provided along with instructions. Dress for the work as you may get a little wet. Meet at the top of the Cemetery Road and by the Sexton’s Tool House just inside the traffic circle. You may want to bring along a hat, sunscreen and a stool to sit on.

Visit our website for complete details on these and all our Events and Activities at:

Thank you all for your continued support and interest in Jacksonville’s Pioneer Cemetery.