Fraser Cemetery needs cleanup help, and new board members | SkyHiNews.com

Fraser Cemetery needs cleanup help, and new board members

The Fraser Cemetery is in need of restoration and the cemetery's board is looking for volunteers to help with the work. Byron Hetzler/Sky-Hi News

Dave Cautrell wants to see Glen Wilson’s dream of a Memorial Wall in the Fraser Cemetery realized – and it’s close, but help is needed.

Cautrell, born and raised in Tabernash, has been on the Cemetery’s board of directors for longer than 29 years and has been working to keep it maintained for more than 37 years.

“A lot of the citizens of Grand County have left or moved out of the state, then passed away and had their ashes scattered there. But they still have relatives here. There is nowhere for their families to go to meditate.”

By building this memorial wall, Cautrell believes that the citizens listed on the memorial will become part of Grand County, and Colorado, when their names are sandblasted into it. The Memorial Wall will feature Colorado and U.S. flags.

But first, the organization needs a clean-up day and to get the word out about how to help.

“We need the cemetery to get back to the beautiful park it once was,” said Cautrell.

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Volunteers are needed to clean up the brush and plant more trees, many of which have been removed because they were beetle-killed.

Mother Nature has devastated us, he said.

“We need to make it safe and look good again.”

After Glen Wilson passed away, the board realized they needed help.

“The cemetery board is getting old and we are asking for county-wide help,” said Cautrell.

The organization will be recruiting volunteers who can chainsaw and rake, drive machinery, and they need use of dump trucks, a front end loader, and laborers. The graves need fixing and they want to introduce new trees into the cemetery such as spruce; there are some aspens left.

At one time, it was so beautiful, then the beetles came and we lost all the trees, he said. Stumps are all that’s left.

“It was always a gathering place for old-timers,” said Cautrell.

History

Built in 1915, the Fraser Cemetery’s bylaws were written in 1975 by Greg Long. Original board members were Glen Wilson, Ernie Johnson, Alta Gesellman, Gene O’Neil, Richard Leonard, Fred Pacheco and Frank Carlson. Glen Wilson came to Grand County from Sweden with his wife in 1930. He will be buried next his wife, Diane Wilson in the Fraser Cemetery later this year.

The forest was thinned about 15 years ago and graves were found under junipers. Volunteer workers protected them so they couldn’t be destroyed. Many unmarked graves still exist in the cemetery from an outbreak of diphtheria in the 1930s, said Cautrell.

Dwight Miller helped build the entryway and Kirk Klancke built the rocks on the gates. The board is looking for a mason to help with the memorial wall, said Cautrell.

“This is the final resting placed for our pioneers and loved ones honored in death. It tells us where we came from, and gives us history,” he said.

“We must respect the ones who came before us, each and everyone one of them are pioneers of our nation, our state, and our county. What a beautiful place God has given us to raise our family.”

Cleanup day

At 9 a.m. on Saturday, May 12, board members will be available to answer questions and organize volunteers for the cleanup day. The cemetery is located across the street from the Fraser Tubing Hill, a half mile south from the traffic light at Safeway.

Volunteers are asked to bring gloves, rakes and shovels. Anyone needing to perform community service is welcome to attend. Refreshments will be provided, and donations will be taken. The secretary will be there to answer questions.

Veterans can have a site for no cost. If anyone wants to donate in the name of a loved one, the board encourages them to come to the clean up day for information.

In the future, the cemetery organization hopes to publish a book of all the people in the cemetery. If citizens have information to share, talk to a board member on Saturday.

“The proceeds of the book will help keep the cemetery maintained,” said Cautrell.

He is honored to work with the current board and to help bring new members on board.

“The future of our cemetery is always an uncertainty. We must fight to save and protect it.”

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