Burials on hold. . . . more problems at cemeteries



As we continue to see less and less full casket traditional burials at cemeteries, especially rural cemeteries, we have kept you apprised about some of the issues that these long-time, old-established cemeteries face.  Most of the time the issues are those of finances — such as not enough grave lot sales, interment sales, and/or perpetual care monies to continue the upkeep.


However, this week we learned of a new issue — that you could argue stems from finances — that some cemeteries in Connecticut are facing.


In Connecticut, according to this article and news report from NBC Connecticut, “cemeteries can be owned by eclesiastical societies, municipalities or nonprofit volunteer organizations”.  But, what happens when a volunteer organization has no more volunteers to operate the cemetery?


That’s what has happened in Brookfield, Connecticut, where two cemeteries that cover 13 acres are having to hold off on burials because there is no one in charge of the cemeteries.  In essence, the cemeteries are shut down until some type of ownership responsibility is enacted.


Again according to the article, “Jeff Nolan was the last remaining member of the Central Cemetery Association and resigned last year”.   He says that in conferring with authorities the only option for new management starts with “abandonment” by the association. . . and, it appears that is where the process is today.


Nolan makes the argument that “the volunteer system is unsustainable and said that there is a lack of oversight in the industry as a whole“.  He continues by saying, “We need continuity over generations. Ad hoc groups of volunteers cannot do that. This is an institutional type requirement, where the contracts, the money, and the interment details have to be looked at in totality, over decades of time. . .”


Nolan has filed a complaint in the Connecticut Superior Court and wants a judge to appoint an interim receiver to operate both cemeteries in question.  According to the article that decision is pending.


In the meantime, there are at least two full-body burials and several cremated remains waiting to be interred.  One of those in wait is a Korean War veteran who was once a volunteer at the cemetery who was entrusted with the keys to the cemetery gate. . . .a gate that may be locked permanently if no one is found to take over the cemeteries.


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