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Goodrich Cemetery seeks assistance

April 30, 2014 - On May 26, 1850, Nathaniel Fairchild, 54, became the first person buried in the Goodrich Cemetery. The cause of death was lockjaw and blood poisoning caused by a horseshoe nail in his hand.

Over the next 160 years, hundreds of other community members like Fairchild were interred in the village burial ground, including Cummings, Hegel, McCandlish and Goodrich—their names now synonymous with the area.

From honoring veterans to preserving community history to perpetually caring for loved ones—the cemetery, located in the village near Reid Elementary and Seneca Street, is an icon that continues to remember the past while establishing a future location for generations to come.

"The Goodrich Cemetery has played a vital role in the community," said Pete Morey, village council member and cemetery association member. "For more than 160 years the cemetery has been a landmark that binds the generations."

However, Morey and other association members that oversee the grounds are concerned about support for the facility.

"The Goodrich Cemetery receives no funding from the state, county, township or any governmental source," said Morey. "Rather, the cemetery is funded from services provided when plots are sold. In 2013, we sold two—it's not enough."

"From increasing maintenance costs to low interest rates yielded fewer dollars from the trust fund to a lack of plot sales over the past few years, it just gets more difficult to keep the property up," added Morey. "Also, since opening in 2005, many veterans now utilize the Great Lakes National Cemetery in Holly. While we are happy for them, the popularity has depleted the revenue here."

To help offset the maintenance costs, volunteers including Morey and Gene Symanzik mow the cemetery during the summer months. In addition, each spring the Genesee County Jail's work detail has raked and cleaned up the grounds.

"The volunteers do a great job, but what is really needed are to sell about ten plots each year and some new people to work with the association," added Morey. "The association wants the cemetery maintained at the very highest level."

According to Michigan Compiled Laws, if the cemetery is not owned by an association, it then becomes the responsibility of the township to properly take care of the grounds.

"The association needs to stay solvent and right where it is," Morey said.

For more more information, 810-636-3500

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