200 year-old Kitchener cemeteries endure despite dying business


“Some years there is not any burials. Some years, there is possibly 5 or so,” Tilt stated.”It is been a deficient industry yr.”

However there was once a cemetery celebration. Church contributors prayed and wore carnations a couple of weeks in the past to mark 200 years for the reason that first burial at the Doon grounds. Members of the family of resting cemetery citizens positioned the carnations at the gravestones.

Tilt’s folks and grandparents are buried right here. Their folks are grandparents are buried at Blair cemetery, the oldest within the area.


However Homer Watson, panorama painter and eponymous side road past the cemetery’s again fence, rests at the grounds Tilt has a tendency.

Woods and a path to the entrance gate’s left. A sister cemetery driven up in opposition to townhouse backyards to the correct. All tucked into one nook of what was once as soon as a 19th-century farm, a part of which was once donated to the Presbyterian Church.

This volunteer caretaker process? Tilt used to assist his dad and uncle stay the grounds and dig sandy graves when he was once a child. When he retired from the forestry department of the federal government, former caretaker Charlie Plumtree requested him to take over. He permitted. From failing palms the shovel was once thrown 15 tree-trimming years in the past.

“If there’d be anyone prepared to take it over, I might give it up,” Tilt stated, lamenting the cemetery’s decline as a very powerful religious hub and ultimate vacation spot in fashionable lifestyles.

“It is extra of a historic position now, I might assume.”

However there may be room for extra other folks to be buried right here in those two cemeteries. Any one, possibly. Now not simply Presbyterians and native natives and descendants of wagon-riding settlers from Pennsylvania.

“We are having a look at opening it up.” stated 70-year-old Glen Ueberschlag, the church member in command of gross sales and record-keeping on the Doon cemetery. “As a result of various cemeteries are complete presently.”

And there may be open area for 300 at Doon, Ueberschlag estimates. There may well be some other 200-300 resting puts at Kinzie-Biehn.

“So we are pondering of providing one thing to the general public basically,” stated Ueberschlag, who has family — together with a murdered cousin — buried at Doon. “To deliver some extra income to the church as smartly.”

Exchange is coming to a spot that barely adjustments. Ueberschlag is certain of it.

“Once we do open this factor up, it will exchange rather a little as a result of our pricing is thrice not up to someone else within the town,” he stated.

Somewhere else within the town, he says, unmarried plots opt for $2,000 or extra. A unmarried plot at Doon Presbyterian is set $550.

“We now have attempted to stay it that manner as it was once given to the Presbyterian Church,” Ueberschlag stated. “Once we open it up, it will be (to) who ever desires to. Instances have modified.”

There could also be critical communicate of cemetery amalgamation.

Doon may just take over Kinzie-Biehn, the place Larry Kinzie of Cambridge has been grave-digging caretaker — his sons now assist with the shovel-work — since 1975.

“They are those which can be negotiating with me,” stated Kinzie, an 82-year-old descendant of settler Dilman Kinzie who handiest gave up taking part in hockey thrice every week remaining April.

“Another way, it will simply be put again to the town. However the town does not in point of fact need it. It is too small for them.”

Kinzie insists he is not in point of fact the cemetery proprietor, anyway. There was once an affiliation with a president. However they are all lifeless now, he stated. So the federal government sends the whole thing to him.

“I do not personal it,” stated Kinzie, who says Kinzie-Biehn is the older of the 2 cemeteries. “We do have the deed for the entrance a part of the valuables.”

Each cemeteries boast more recent sections At Doon, the brand new phase opened in 1926. At Kinzie-Biehn, it is going again to 1934.

Issues are other now. There are houses in the back of the woods in the back of the cemeteries. Past the ones are prime rises and a strip mall.

Kinzie remembers chatting with his dad Gord as they stood at the cemetery belongings in 1971. Construction round Homer Waterson Street had simply begun. His father, then caretaker, eyed a burial plot.

“Oh, boy, I’m hoping I am in right here earlier than this occurs,” his dad stated.

Later that yr, his father died. Now not a shaggy dog story. It simply came about, Kinzie stated. The way forward for those two joined-at-the-hip cemeteries will simply occur too. Reminiscences might be buried. Fawns will get lost.

“The cemetery state of affairs, it may not remaining for much longer the way in which issues are progressing,” Tilt stated. “Folks this present day, their values have modified.”

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Twitter: @HicksJD

[email protected]

Twitter: @HicksJD



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