Maintenance and management concerns abound for Coopers Plains Cemetery

Local News

It was two weeks ago when Jennifer Liller noticed items she had placed around her daughter Casey’s grave site – who passed away in 2004 – had either gone missing or were broken.

Pamela Pierson had a similar experience for the grave sites of several of her family members. 

“Everything they had is just gone,” Pierson said.

It’s become an all-too-familiar story for Coopers Plains Cemetery.  Ronda Strawser, who lost her son to cystic fibrosis in 2016, says it’s not a peaceful place. She blames current caretaker Dan Carr. 

“When you come in here, you’re always what did he do? Now what’s missing.. now what did he break?” Strawser said. 

Strawser tells me Carr uses a tractor to dump items over the embankment behind the cemetery, as one woman claims happened with the items placed on her father’s grave site. 

The mementos you can see in the attached photo were carefully selected and placed on loved ones’ grave sites, only to be removed and strewn about the cemetery’s mausoleum. Nobody knows why. 

Strawser says she placed flowers at her son’s grave for his birthday on May 4. She returned a few days later to find they had been completely mowed over with a lawnmower. 

“He’s being paid an awful lot of money to make sure that these cemeteries are being taken care of…but he’s doing it in the absolute cheapest, most horrible way possible so that he makes money but our loved ones are the ones who suffer,” Strawser said. 

Those they’ve left behind are suffering as well.

“It feels like I lost my parents and my family all over again,” Pierson said. 

“They are ruining the only way we can celebrate or mourn with our loved ones. This is all I’ve got right here – this stone, that’s it. I have nothing else,” Liller said. 

They’ve had enough, and they’re taking action. Strawser has organized a meeting to be held on Friday at Hodgeman Park at 6:30. Attendees can sign a petition demanding the Carrs abandon the cemetery.

The hope is that it is taken over by the town. In the meantime, volunteers are being gathered to maintain the cemetery. 

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