by Laura Bednar
The Northfield-Macedonia cemetery has undergone several improvement projects over the past year and half, including recent grave cleanings by the David Hudson Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution.
The cemetery on Olde 8 Road has been in existence for 175 years and is operated by a board of trustees made up of four representatives, one from each of the communities that the cemetery serves: Macedonia, Northfield Center Township, Northfield Village and Sagamore Hills Township. Each community contributes funds to the cemetery, with the amount pro-rated based on the valuation of the communities, according to Sagamore Hills trustee and cemetery board member Paul Schweikert.
Jeff Snell, cemetery fiscal officer, said a budget is created with capital expenditures in mind, adding that funds also come from the sale of graves, burials and community support.
Over the past year and a half, $55,000 was spent in improvements to the road, restrooms and office space at the site.
“The road around the cemetery was falling apart,” said Schweikert. “Now, it looks like a real road.”
Aladdin Sealcoating performed the roadwork, and Art Cook completed renovations of the restrooms and office.
“It was very outdated and people wouldn’t use the restroom,” said Schweikert. “What Art did is unbelievable, the office was updated to look like the 21st century. Now, people have no problem using the restroom if they’re visiting a grave.”
Snell explained that the office building used to be a crypt and was built in the late 1800s. The office hadn’t been remodeled since the 1960s, and the restrooms hadn’t seen renovations in 40 years.
To avoid ripping up the aged tile in the office, a new floor was installed overtop of the existing tile. New lighting and fresh paint accompanied the floor to make it a “more appealing space,” according to Snell. “The office is where we meet people [planning funerals].”
Schweikert said the previous linoleum in the office felt dirty, and it’s now a more comfortable space. He also said Sagamore Hills Zoning Inspector Ray Fantozzi is a painter on the side and repainted the cemetery fence.
Earlier this year, a new water line was installed to replace a broken line that was freezing in the winter. Snell said the existing electricity line will be extended underground to allow for added lighting in the cemetery. Operations manager for the cemetery, Dan Sakal, said the hope is to add lights to the cemetery fence and install more security cameras.
“All major renovations needed were made,” Schweikert said. “Compared to what it was before, it’s spectacular and everyone’s really pleased.”
DAR grave cleaning
In the same vein of improvements, the David Hudson Chapter of the DAR cleaned the graves of three Revolutionary War patriots and their wives at the Northfield Macedonia Cemetery.
The chapter is made up of residents from Hudson as well as the Nordonia Hills communities, including Sagamore Hills. The chapter is named after the son of Revolutionary War Patriot, David Hudson, Sr.
DAR members have lineal descent from an ancestor who fought to secure the country’s independence. Members provide community service, educate children and honor and support the military, according to dar.org.
In the past, the David Hudson chapter held food drives for the Hudson food pantry and collected dog items for “Wags for Warriors,” a group that provides a service dog to veterans with PTSD or a traumatic brain injury.
Eight members of the David Hudson chapter, along with three of the members’ husbands, cleaned the graves of Revolutionary War veterans Jeremiah Cranmer, John Giles, William Nisbet and their wives this fall.
DAR member and chapter Registrar Pat Hall said the chapter participates in a day of service every year in October in honor of its anniversary. The group had talked about cleaning graves and the chapter Regent Jan Kroll encouraged the group to act on it.
Members used cleaning solution and brushes to brighten the gravestones and marked the graves with a plaque and flag to indicate the deceased’s service to the country. DAR member Kathy Domzalski, of Sagamore Hills, said the cleaning solution continues to brighten the stones after the initial cleaning.
“It’s amazing what two weeks has done,” she said. “You can actually read them [the stones] now.”
This was the chapter’s first time cleaning gravestones, and it plans to keep up maintenance of the graves by spraying the cleaning solution annually. “It’s one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done,” Domzalski said. “I was so proud and joyous that we made a difference.”