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Cemeteries’ storm mess

Crews deal with fallen trees, damaged markers

July 10, 2012
By Sam Shawver - The Marietta Times ( , The Marietta Times

Several area graveyards were damaged by fallen trees during the widespread wind storm that blew through the Mid-Ohio Valley June 29, including Marietta's Oak Grove Cemetery.

"Oak Grove looked like a bomb had gone off-huge trees were uprooted, and one fell across a roadway and took out the service lines at the cemetery office," said Tom Kunz, city cemeteries foreman.

He said there were several grave markers damaged by fallen trees, too.

Article Photos

SAM SHAWVER The Marietta Times
Marietta grounds workers Cam Benson, left, and Nick Place on Monday survey the damage to a grave marker under a large tree that was toppled at Oak Grove Cemetery during the June 29 wind storm.

"This is the worst damage I've seen in our cemeteries," Kunz said. "Mound Cemetery wasn't hit terribly hard. There were some limbs down, but they've been cleaned up. And the Harmar Cemetery also had some trees or limbs that fell around the outside perimeter."

Last week city crews were piling the limbs and other brush into dump trucks and hauling them to the Greenleaf Landscape composting area along Ohio 821.

"The city only had one wood chipper, and we couldn't even find one to rent after the storm-the closest we could find was in Pennsylvania," Kunz said. "But on Friday we were finally able to obtain a small chipper. It sure beats hauling brush to Greenleaf."

Fact Box

At a glance

Some area cemeteries hit by June 29 storm:

Oak Grove Cemetery, Marietta-Heavy damage from fallen trees.

Mound Cemetery, Marietta-Some fallen branches, no major damage.

Harmar Cemetery, Marietta-Trees, branches down around perimeter of the cemetery, no major damage.

Putnam Cemetery, Devola-Large tree down, some potential damage to graveyard.

Old Stanleyville Cemetery, Fearing Township-Two large trees down, some markers broken.

Elias Keller Family Cemetery, Boaz, W.Va.-Tree and limbs on ground, no broken stones visible.

Kunz said crews have been working daily at Oak Grove, but it could take some time to completely clean up the fallen trees and limbs.

Washington County Emergency Management Agency director Jeff Lauer, who helps maintain some local cemeteries, said one hard-hit graveyard was the old Stanleyville Cemetery off Caywood Road in Fearing Township.

"I don't think anyone's been buried in that cemetery since 1967, but a big locust and a cedar tree have blown down there," he said. "It's a mess."

The Putnam Cemetery off Masonic Park Road in Devola was also heavily damaged, according to Muskingum Township Trustee Carolyn Dempsey.

"A large tree was blown over in the cemetery, and township employees cleaned up as much as they could. Now we're waiting on a tree service company to come in and remove the rest because we don't want to damage any headstones," she said.

Travelers along West Virginia 14 in the Boaz area have also reported that the historic Elias Keller Family Cemetery may have sustained some storm damage.

"There are some trees and limbs that came down on the cemetery. It looks pretty bad, but as far as I can tell none of the grave stones have been broken," said Joe Fetty, a member of the Wood County Rural Cemetery Alliance Committee.

He said the brush should be cleared out of that cemetery later this week.



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