Forest Hill board seeks to beautify cemetery

Forest Hill Cemetery Board members Elmer Warolin, Rich Mycue, Dale Gilbert and Marsha Bunger sit atop the WPA-era rock garden they would like to replace during an upcoming beautification project.

Forest Hill Cemetery Board members view their positions as life-time commitments to ensuring the local burial grounds are cherished by generations to come.

“The only way you get off this board is you end up here,” said Rich Mycue, spreading his arms to indicate the rolling hills dotted by monuments and markers abutting the sinuous Rum River.

“It’s one of the most beautiful cemeteries in the whole state,” added fellow board member Dale Gilbert.

As evidence of the lifetime commitment made by some of the board members, former president Elmer Warolin is in his fifth decade of service as one of the directors.

“He’s our historian,” Gilbert said.

Forest Hill Cemetery advocates are gearing up for another beautification project. Once the walking bridge at Recreation Park is installed, board members would like to replace the crumbling rock garden and sidewalk leading up to the cemetery. The last time they embarked on such a large project was nearly five years ago when donations from Karen Reineke’s memorial made possible the new gate at the south side entrance.

“That’s pretty much how we get all our funding,” Mycue said. “We don’t make money here. We have some years that we struggle, and others we do better.”

But waiting for a community advocate such as Reineke to include Forest Hill in his or her memorial can be an inconsistent way to raise funds. Therefore, the board is looking for living community members to help out.

The rock garden situated beneath two dying pine trees is a remnant of a 1936 WPA project.

“It’s sort of crumbing and falling apart now,” Mycue said. “Our commitment, of course, is to make that area more presentable.”

For the full story, see the Thursday, July 19 print edition of the Times.