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: