Madisonville Cemetery gets makeover

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The Madisonville Cemetery Association’s newly created Board of Directors recently sent out a letter to association members announcing that revitalization and clean up has begun at the Madisonville Cemetery located off W Trinity Street.  The Board announces that more plans for improvements to the cemetery are being made and they are seeking input, volunteers and donations to support the effort.  Donations can be mailed to P.O. Box 486, Madisonville, Texas 77864.   Below is the complete letter written by the Board to association members, which includes any person who has a relative or loved one within the Madisonville Cemetery:

Dear Friends,

We have good news to share with you regarding the Madisonville cemetery.  Clean up has begun, a new fence has been built on Highway 21, dead trees have been removed, trees have been trimmed, and more plans for improvements are being made.  A new Board of Directors is in place and is seeking input, volunteers, and donations – all driven by a love and respect for those people who have gone before us, and a love for our community. The Board wishes the cemetery to be a place of quiet respect and reverence.

            The new Board is made up of the following individuals:  Dawn Knight, Duane Standley, Candy Bennett, Ola Stiver, Stacey Scarmardo, Jeanelle Mathis, and Stephanie Elliot.  All are serving set terms.  Regular meetings will occur to receive member input and keep everyone apprised of plans.  Current plans include continuing clean up, regular mowing, fencing of the entire property, repairing and leveling of grave markers, locating and identifying all graves, the creation of a cemetery plat, and a watering system.

            All of these projects will take significant funds.  Although the Association has some funds, and there is income from the sale of burial spaces and burial fees, these amounts are not adequate to fund all projects.  Plot owners in only a certain section of the cemetery were charged an annual maintenance fee.  In order to be equitable, this assessment is being discontinued. Thus, a new ongoing fundraising effort is required.  All contributions to the Association are tax deductable, as the tax exempt status (501c-3) has been fully restored. 

            It is important to clarify what the legal structure of the Association and the cemetery is.  The cemetery was once a combination of several different legal entities.  It is now one entity governed by this Association.  The name at one time included the word “City”; however, the City of Madisonville has no legal connection to this cemetery.  The word “perpetual” may have been used in discussion or included in receipts; however, this is not a “perpetual care” cemetery.  No steps were ever taken, and none are planned, to create the legal and financial structure required for a perpetual care cemetery.  The care and upkeep of this cemetery will come from our “perpetual” love for our friends and relatives who are buried there.  The Board encourages you to visit the cemetery at your earliest convenience in order to appreciate the size and scope of what the board is trying to accomplish. 

            The Board also urges all members and their families to attend the next annual meeting on Saturday, August 5, 2017 at First United Methodist Church.  This will be a time of visiting and reconnecting with friends and families. Lunch will be provided.   This annual event will enable the Board to receive input from the members regarding cemetery needs, and conduct whatever business is required, including the election of two new board members each year. At this August meeting, revisions to the bylaws and updated restrictions, as recommended by the new Board, will be voted upon.  Furthermore, your contact information will be obtained—this is very important for effective communication between the Board and members.   Board members contact information is shown below.   We look forward to the beginning of the fund raising projects, and the improvements to the cemetery. More information will be forthcoming regarding the August meeting.

Very truly yours,

Dawn Knight, Board President, 936-581-1310; Ola Stiver, Board VP, 936-348-3892; Duane Standley, Board Treasurer, 936-348-2235; Candy Bennett, Board Secretary, 936-348-6217; Jeanelle Mathis, Board Member, 936-348-2519; Stacey Scarmardo, Board Member, 979-218-8709; Stephanie Elliot, Board Member, 214-987-1973  

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