Shannon Cemetery fight continues

By Bryan Reynolds -

BLUFFTON — The fight for Shannon Cemetery continued during the Bluffton Village Council meeting Monday night after Mayor Judy Augsburger said she had been out of order and had not been following the Shannon Cemetery Resolution and passed the responsibilities to new Village Administrator Jack Huber.

After Augsburger broached the issue, Ray Mumma of the Friends of Shannon Cemetery group addressed the council with questions and concerns.

“Now that Mr. Huber is officially in charge of the cemetery should I take all of the requests you rejected to him?” Mumma asked the council. “Would any of you object to that?”

A while back, Friends of Shannon Cemetery requested Mark Morton with Gravestone Guardians of Ohio, a professional at graveyard restoration and preservation, teach a class to the group and volunteers about repairing, resetting, cleaning and preserving old gravestones, Mumma said. The mayor, who was in charge of the resolution at the time after the old village administrator left, denied the request outright, he said.

Mumma was also concerned about a chunk of gravestone that was discovered beneath a lilac bush that was removed from the cemetery site. The stone was removed from the site and placed into storage but, according to Mumma, the resolution doesn’t state stones, even pieces, can be removed from the cemetery.

“It should be settled,” said Karen Dukes, a member of Friends of Shannon Cemetery, who has six ancestors buried at the site. “It was settled. We don’t know what the problem is.”

“The resolution has a lot of pieces,” Augsburger said. “The village needs GPS data. The village needs GIS data. The information went to this Facebook group [Friends of Shannon Cemetery].”

The council needs this information before it can move forward with restoring the cemetery, she said. The GPS data is needed so they can see where exactly old gravesites are so they can have a chance to match stones to sites, Augsburger said.

The problem is all records have been destroyed, she said. The Methodist church that originally stood at the cemetery burned down and all records were presumed lost. The church any surviving records would have been moved to was flooded and its records were destroyed. Augsburger said.

“We’re all friends of Shannon Cemetery,” she said.

By Bryan Reynolds

Reach Bryan Reynolds at 567-242-0362

Reach Bryan Reynolds at 567-242-0362

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