I am compelled to write to whom it may concern regarding the state of Memorial Lawn Cemetery.

Sept. 9, 2019, it was a very sad day for many of us.

As I drove through Memorial Lawn to say my farewells to a dear friend and look for his final resting place, I was saddened by the way Memorial Lawn looked.

Yes, Mother Nature has not been kind on our trees, but to see uncut grass, fallen trees and limbs, roadways in need of repair, etc.; what a mess.

Emporia takes so much pride in our city. Why does Memorial Lawn look the way it does? I’m sure I’m not alone in feeling this way. It is so disrespectful for families that come to visit their loved ones. What can be done to fix this?

If your family member or members find their final resting place at Memorial Lawn, they deserve to be shown respect, as well as the living who visit.

We deserve better, Emporia.

Thank you for taking the time to listen. Heartbroken.

Deb Rathke,


(11) comments


The Emporia Cemetery is even worse than a Total Disgrace.


The Emporia Cemetery is Horrible! I wish I would have had my wife's final resting in Nebraska. The Emporia Cemetery is the Worst Cemetery I have ever seen! Probably, the biggest reason is...it is a PRIVATE Cemetery! Sorry, Conservatives/Republicans, Private Ownership "ain't cuttin' it" here!

I worked in a Cemetery for 4 summers, in the 1950s...in Seward, Nebraska. Seward's Cemetery is 100 per cent class. Would hope the Cemetery could be turned over to the City of Emporia---Emporia should want to have a great Cemetery.

I am not familiar with Kansas laws, but, when I was 15-16-17-18 years old....working at the Cemetery in Seward, we NEVER had soil MOUNDED on top of the grave. The soil was tamped with air-hammer, and, yes, I operated it myself. The soil was compacted. We put the sod back over the top (I realize we had bluegrass in Seward and it was easier kept. There was a mound of clods on my wife's grave. When I complained, I was told they were hard. They should keep pliable soil to place on the tops of graves. I do want everyone to know that my wife's funeral was first class, and the lady (I apologize to her for forgetting her name) at the Cemetery was very professional and compassionate. Cemetery maintenance is out of her control.) I DO WISH THE CITY OF EMPORIA SHOULD PURSUE OWNERSHIP. Roads in the Cemetery are absolutely horrible.

show me

Check out the Aug. 27, 2016 Gazette article "Cemetery struggles to maintain decorum". It is also about the poor care of the cemetery. Everyone responsible for this poor care should be named. Shame on all of them.


Don't forget the October 16, 2018 Gazette article "Grave Concern" .


Google says it's Charter Funerals who is responsible. (620) 342-8317


When I have been in the cemetery in the past it has been well taken care of. I know we had a few nasty wind storms that took out trees all over town and I suspect getting a tree removal service in there will take some time. I also know we have had a massive amount of rain which tends to make mowing grass difficult. Maybe they're slacking...maybe they are just overwhelmed by weather right now.


I don't know to which "past" you are referring. The horrible condition has been going on for many years. When I have visited my husband's grave for years now, I find myself trimming long grass from around the headstone, and the roads are in very poor condition. A nearby faucet has been nearly tipped all the way over for years. We haven't always had this much stormy weather.

show me

aulani wrote "The horrible condition has been going on for many years."


Absolutely! It is many years past time to quit excusing the disgraceful appearance and the lack of care of this cemetery. The weather is just some convenient excuse. Other people/places around Emporia and Lyon County have had the same weather all these years as the cemetery, and all those locations don't look so terrible all the time.


Everyone business, organization, person, etc who is responsible for the upkeep of this cemetery needs to be named. How about The Emporia Gazette research and print another article which lists all those who are responsible for the cemetery? It would be good if the Emporia City Commission added a discussion item to their next meeting agenda to come up with a plan to get the owner of the cemetery in gear.


I visit many other cemeteries around Lyon County throughout the year, many where family are buried, and none of those cemeteries are so neglected.

Mrs. W

I felt the same way about the condition of the cemetery when I visited my grandparents’ grave several weeks ago. My husband and I also purchased a plot near theirs, which makes seeing unmowed grass, broken and falling trees, and overall neglected grounds, very disheartening.


I firmly agree with the shabby way Memorial Lawn is cared for. That is supposed to be perpetual care, but it appears that is not the case. As I understand, this began once Charter took over. My husband is buried there and it seems the only thing they are paying attention to is trying to sell me the adjoining plot. They need to tend to caring for the lawn and trees. It's a shameful mess.


The cemetery is a mess ! Trees down overgrown grass.When they do they throw grass all over the stones and can't see the names. For what they charge for such a small piece of ground we should have better service!

Bill free

Unfortunately it's not the only one. Took my mom to Hartford catholic cemetery on friday the 20th and it looked terrible. Grass not trimmed around stones and grass from mower blown onto stones in some cases covering stone's so you could not see them.

I know its difficult to mow cemeteries but show respect or find another way to make a living

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