Imagine that you go to the cemetery to visit the grave of a loved one, and you can't find his burial plot because the weeds had grown taller than his tombstone.
This is exactly what happened 130 years ago. Because of these appalling conditions, a group of civic-minded women established the Oak Hill Cemetery Association in order to clean up and to maintain the cemetery.
The Tama County Community Foundation has helped the current women in the association in their efforts to keep the cemetery respectable, dignified, and beautiful.
Mary Fasse-Shaw, TCCF’s Development Associate and Anne Michael, President of the Oak Hill Cemetery Association
The Tama County Community Foundation ( TCCF) has given the Oak Hill Cemetery Association two grants in the past two years to help with repair and to beautify areas. In 2012 a $2,000 grant was allocated to replace the roof of the shelter house at the cemetery. The Derecho, straight-line winds of July, 2011, blew many of the shingles off the roof. A decision was made to replace the shingled roof with a metal roof. According to Anne Michael, Oak Hill Cemetery Association's President, Stuart Eisentrager, a Tama City employee, volunteered his time and replaced the roof by himself.
2013's TCCF grant of $700 replaced rotted landscape timber around the north and east sides of the shelter house with landscape blocks. These new landscape blocks stopped the water and mud from accumulating in the center of the shelter. More landscape blocks were used to surround the statuary and a new oak tree to protect them from the mowers. City employees Stuart Eisentrager and Rod Anderson were responsible for these repairs and additions this year. Michael stated that there was enough money left from the landscaping to put a bench in the new part of the cemetery next to the new oak tree.
"Since the formation of the association over 100 years ago, there have been women willing to take care of the cemetery. As we are dependent on the City of Tama for money, the funds from the Tama County Community Foundation have been immeasurably important in completing projects. City funds have been cut severely, so it is vital that we have the Tama County Community Foundation to do any of these projects," said Michael.
The Oak Hill Cemetery Association is a volunteer association made up of 22 women. "That the Oak Hill Cemetery Association takes care of the cemetery shows respect for the departed and that they were loved by others and that their final resting place deserves to be respected," said Anne Michael, President of the Oak Hill Cemetery Association. Anne and the other association members believe that everyone's final resting place should be a place of dignity. The Oak Hill Cemetery Association and the City of Tama has honored this belief with care and concern. The association is always looking for new members. Anyone interested in joining should contact Anne Michael at 484-3334.
The TCCF is able to assist 501c 3 charitable organizations, schools, and governmental organizations with grant funding to support needed programs and important projects in Tama County. Helping with repairs to the Oak Hill Cemetery in Tama is an excellent example of such a project.
The Tama County Community Foundation has been created by and for the people of Tama County. The Foundation's main goals are to support charitable projects and programs, to attract additional funds, and to assist donors in creating lasting legacies through a variety of giving options within the county. For more information about the TCCF, contact Brian Sokol, Chair of the Tama County Community Foundation, 641-484-2980, or Mary Fasse-Shaw, TCCF's Development Associate at 641-751-5251.