Exploring Almost Forgotten Gravesites in the Great State of Ohio

Dedicated to cemetery preservation in the great state of Ohio


"A cemetery may be considered as abandoned when all or practically all of the bodies have been Removed therefrom and no bodies have been buried therein for a great many years, and the cemetery has been so long neglected as entirely to lose its identity as such, and is no longer known, recognized and respected by the public as a cemetery. 1953 OAG 2978."

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Sharing Information about Ohio House Bill 168 - "....To Modify Cemetery duties of the Division of Real Estate in the Department of Commerce regarding cemetery registration, to specify cemetery owners must reasonably maintain cemeteries, to establish the Cemetery Grant Program, and to make an appropriation."

On Tuesday, May 16, 2017, The Ohio House State & Local Government Committee received proponent testimonies for House Bill 168.: 
"To Modify Cemetery Law" 
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Mr. Matthew J. DeTemple, Executive Director of the Ohio Township Association, presented a proponent testimony on behalf of the Ohio Township Association and Ohio's townships.  

Below is Mr. DeTemple's testimony in support of House Bill 168 , which cites Ohio Revised Codes with details of each one and how each affects Ohio's cemeteries.  

Mr. DeTemple's testimony is a powerful one that conveys the message of the importance of being enabled to properly preserve Ohio's cemeteries, their gravesites, and the gravestones and monuments that mark them.  That township trustees require adequate funding to conduct the proper ongoing maintenance for their township cemeteries.  

We join the Ohio Township Association in support of House Bill 168


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From the "Daily Reporter" in Columbus, Ohio (April 24, 2017):

“A freshman lawmaker has taken up a cause begun late in the last session of the Ohio Legislature that would implement the Cemetery Grant Program recommended by a 2014 task force.

Rep. Dick Stein, R-Norwalk, proposed House Bill 168 primarily “to assure we honor and respect all those interred in over 2,400 not for profit cemeteries across Ohio,” he told fellow members of the House of Representatives in a cosponsor request. “Local government funds have shrunk in recent years putting more pressure on our administrators to find solutions for cemetery repairs and maintenance, as mandated by law.

“This bill provides much needed assistance in securing grants to specifically address our cemetery managers’ responsibilities to honor our deceased.”

The bill establishes the grant program in addition to modifying the duties of the Department of Commerce’s Real Estate division regarding cemetery registration and specifying cemetery owners must reasonably maintain cemeteries.

Initial funding of the grant program — $100,000 — would fund grants for Fiscal Year 2018, Stein explained.

“This seed money comes from existing funds set aside by the $2.50 burial permit fees collected by Commerce,” he said. “Future replenishment of these funds will be provided by setting aside $1 of the $2.50 burial permit fee to continue funding these grants.”

HB 168 stipulates the Real Estate division use the funding to advance grants to registered, nonprofit cemeteries to defray the costs of cemetery maintenance or training cemetery personnel in the maintenance and operation of cemeteries.

Further, the bill limits the division’s grant awards to no more than 80 percent of the total fiscal year appropriation.

As for the bill’s provisions specific to maintenance, the bill clearly defines the meaning: “The care of a cemetery and of the lots, graves, crypts, niches, mausoleums, memorials, and markers therein, including the cutting, trimming, and removal of trees; repair of drains, water lines, roads, fences, and buildings; and payment of expenses necessary for maintaining necessary records of lot ownership, transfers, and burials.”

The Real Estate division or a duly created Cemetery Dispute Resolution Commission will have final say in whether a given cemetery owner has undertaken reasonable maintenance."

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