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Cemetery association plans for restoration in new year

SOUTHINGTON — The Southington Cemetery Association is continuing its efforts at the township cemeteries with the help of the next generation of community volunteers.

Marsha Phipps, association president, said the association was organized in 2002 by residents who were in their retirement years. She said the new generation spent much of last year restoring the damaged / weathered Pioneers Monuments every Tuesday evening all summer.

One tall and large marker for Daniel Hartman dated 1810 to 1860 had fallen and was lying on the ground at the Old German Reform Cemetery.

”This stone was over 1,000 pounds. With the help of Harshman’s (towing) service, using their equipment, the volunteers were able to lift and correct the 1,000-pound base and position the tall monument to its original upright position,” she said.

Also a Livasa Brunson Joy marker dated 1808 to 1881, which was also large and tall, was lying on the ground but now is upright.

The Southington Fire Department also helped to reset three grave sites.

Phipps said that at the Pinecrest Cemetery in the pioneer families burial section, the marker of Southington founding father Luke Viets was lying broken on the ground for many years. In 2002, volunteer Ora Strock and his committee glued the pieces together and reset the stone with a new base, she said.

Current volunteers repaired markers that shifted or leaned. Some sank so low into the ground over the years that the words engraved on the markers are below the surface.

The current volunteers restored 10 markers at the Old German Reform Cemetery with the township supplying the concrete, gravel, glue and sealing putty.

”The new Cemetery Association members have restored 48 markers this summer, several side markers that bear the name ‘mother,’ ‘father,’ and did some landscaping and removing brush. This has helped to beautify the old cemeteries,” Phipps said.

Volunteers Joe Riggle and Tom Strock designed a “monument mover” to assist with the larger, heavy stones that need removed to restore the base of the monuments. With the support of the trustees, the device will be ready for next summer to continue the work in the cemeteries.

The officers and members of the association are Marsha Phipps, president; Sherri Proverbs, secretary; Pam Houser, treasurer; and members Joe Riggle, Edie Riggle, Tom Stock, Martin Chalker, Dan Tietz, Tom Proverbs and Russell Campenella.

• The Southington Cemetery Association will meet 5:30 p.m. March 7 at the chapel in Old German Reform Cemetery. The association will meet two times a year, spring and fall, with work days scheduled in between.

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