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Walk to bring life back to Otterville cemetery

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The International Order of Odd Fellows Cemetery in Otterville will come to life at 1:30 p.m. Sunday. The cemetery board will host a cemetery walk with live bluegrass music.



Visitors will be able to tour the cemetery and visit several graves whose occupants will be portrayed by an actor telling about the person’s life and their significance in Otterville history. The tours will take about 30 minutes and chairs will be available at each grave.



“We are having the cemetery walk to celebrate the culmination of a year-and-a-half effort of computerizing the cemetery records, as well as to raise funds for maintenance costs,” said Jeffrey Page, cemetery board member. “I spent all last summer walking the cemetery, grave by grave, recording names and dates.”



This year’s walk will feature Sarah Amanda Wear, A.L. Zollinger, Tom C. Cranmer, Laura Lawrence Hemenway and George W. Smith. They died between 1879 to 1914.



Jaclyn Inskeep, vice president of the board, became involved with the cemetery about the time her father, Jack Deuschle, was diagnosed with cancer. He was a former city marshal and city council member in Otterville.



“We want to see the cemetery taken care of and preserved well,” she said. “He (her father) was always interested when younger people showed community involvement.”



The Deuschle family donated a map board so people can locate the graves of family and friends quicker. It will be unveiled at this event.



The board has been focusing its efforts on beautifying the cemetery. The Helmig family donated new posts around the border of the cemetery, as well as some statuary and landscaping. Board members also reseeded a large portion of grass and would like to do more as funds become available. Inskeep said they are also working on leveling the ground in certain areas.



Another project the board has taken on is updating records.



“The record books that have been around since the beginning were very antiquated and hard to discern,” said Page. “As a couple of us board members from the younger generation look ahead a few years and realize the cemetery will be our responsibility soon, we wanted to learn it for ourselves so we are prepared with accurate and understandable records.”



Inskeep echoed this response with, “We finally needed to get with the times and get things computerized.”



The upgrades will be especially helpful for people doing genealogy research.



Donations will be taken and proceeds will go to cemetery maintenance costs. Concessions will be available across the street from the cemetery.



For more information, call Page at 660-886-1751.


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