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Heartbroken over reports of cemetery conditions

To the editor:

Recent news articles and broadcasts about the conditions at Columbiana County Memorial Cemetery have left me heartbroken.

A dear family friend, Lou Bozek, first alerted our family early this week to the lack of care being given to my parents’ gravesites . After reading articles and watching news footage I am devastated. The broken headstone she spoke of in her recent letter belongs to my parents. I live in Texas and am only able to visit my parents graves during infrequent trips “home.”

I trusted that the plots that my father sacrificed, scrimped and saved to purchase would be cared for thus making my inability to visit bearable. After losing my mom to brain cancer in 2003, one of the small comforts we had was laying her to final rest inside that beautiful cross on the hillside that she dreamt of. The excuses of those responsible for failing to provide what was paid for are like salt in a wound.

I’m insulted by the implied suggestion of “private endowment “ for plots have already been paid for! I have at least half a dozen other family members buried there, aunts and uncles, so this issue is far-reaching for me. I’m praying that the board will do whatever is necessary to restore the grounds and do the right thing to replace and repair the desecration that was caused by neglect.

Were it not for lack of maintenance, my parents headstone and those of others would be the memorial that was intended, rather than a shameful commentary of how little care is given to the departed. My parents were lifelong residents of the Ohio River Valley and chose this cemetery so their friends and family would have easy access to pay respects conveniently and in a comfortable environment. Current conditions are falling far short of what their expectations and are leaving me feeling the grief of loss all over again.

Nanette Jewell-DeSimone,

Ft. Sam Houston, Texas

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