Tuesday, January 13, 2009

East Moline's Rose Lawn cemetery finally gets a savior

For years, Rose Lawn Memorial Estate has been in poor shape. I visited the cemetery a few years back and was disgusted at the "care" it was under.

Anyone who knows me knows I am not a fan of lawn markers, and this cemetery is one of the reasons why. While wandering the grounds, I found many flat markers covered in mud or dried dirt. The grass hadn't been mowed in a while, and it just wasn't a pleasant place. I felt very bad for anyone visiting loved ones in the cemetery, let alone those buried there. It's been a sad place. At least loved one were still visiting and leaving mementos on the graves.

I didn't think much about the cemetery until 2007 when I started hearing about the troubles it was having. The owner was a schmuck (no surprise there), and a number of people were complaining about him to "8 On Your Side," which is a service of a local news station. When they receive complaints about a business, they act as consumer advocates and investigate, reporting what they learn and the outcome on their broadcasts.

The owner, Richard Cody, lived in Wisconsin but denied ownership of the property when asked about it. The truth is, he was selling pre-need items that people never received--totally $260,000. He also sold pre-need funeral contracts without a license. The grounds were still in terrible condition, and families even decided to get together to clean up the area and get rid of the overgrowth. The Illinois State Comptroller got involved. Cody avoided court appearances.

As it turns out, Cody, committed suicide in November 2008.

A week ago, on Jan. 6, Gregory Vogele announced that he will will be taking over poor Rose Lawn. This is exciting and wonderful news for anyone with a loved one buried in Rose Lawn. Greg is the superintendent of Chippiannock Cemetery in Rock Island and has been for 30 years. He is the third generation Vogele superintendent, as a matter of fact. He knows the importance of cemeteries, and I know he will do his best to care for Rose Lawn until a new owner is announced.

Thank you, Greg!

To read more about this, visit: http://www.wqad.com/Global/story.asp?S=9627603

To read more about the past plight of Rose Lawn, visit:

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

I haven't posted on here for a while. My family took a vacation down to Disney World (we drove) then Christmas was upon us once we got back. But this time of year, who expects anything less?

The big cemetery-related news in my world is that the fall/winter 2008 issue of Epitaphs Magazine (#8) is done. It features an article with a number of photos on the July 21 storm that hit Chippiannock Cemetery in Rock Island, Illinois. More than 125 trees were destroyed.

It also features:
- What Is a Chrismon Anyway? (Dusty Smith)
- The Lost Children (Colleen Loefler)
- Digging Into Cemeteries: The Growing Popularity of Cemetery Blogging
- Salzburg's Gardens of the Dead (Michele Jankowski)
- Cameras 101 (Joshua Inayat)
- Necropolis (Ryan Coffman)
- Photos by Steven Hernandez
- Taphophiles are Multiplying Like Rabbits: The Story Behind the Association of Gravestone Rabbits (William "Terry" Thornton)
- Photos by Mike Smith
- An Interview with Buddy Phaneuf of the Internet Cremation Society
- Why Should We Care? The International Association of Cemetery Preservationists, Inc.
- The Lost Children (Colleen Loefler)
- The Crypt Keeper (Giselle Ladoceur-Borowicz)
- Book reviews
- I "Heart" Cemeteries (photography by Alzi Clanton, Polly Yuill, Jimmy Short, Tammy Jo Fuller, Ryan Coffman, Steven Hernandez)
- Why I'm a Taphophile (Peter Denniston, New Zealand)
- Back cover photo by Polly Yuill

To order your copy (print or electronic, visit www.TheCemeteryClub.com.


Epitaphs Magazine is Now Accepting Submissions for EM #9

Your submissions are needed! Send them in now to be part of Epitaphs Magazine #9. While all types of submissions of any theme are welcome, here are the themes I am looking for specifically:

- Metal work in the cemetery
- Scattering grounds
- Grave decorations (seasonal, etc.)
- Interesting epitaphs
- Strange angles (artsy photos)

Send your submissions in by Feb. 15 to:


Happy New Year, everyone!