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This is the resting place of Barbara Good, the late wife of the former CEO of the Athens Cemetery Association, Peter Good. 

Former cemetery trustee still passionate about West Union Street Cemetery

Pete Good has had a connection to the West Union Street Cemetery for over 40 years.

Every week, Pete Good drives to the West Union Street Cemetery. Usually he goes to visit the grave of his wife, Barbara, in a plot just on the right, inside of the front entrance. She died in 2013.

Good, 80, has had a connection to the cemetery for a long time.

“All my family (members) are over there,” he said. “My wife is over there, my father, my mother, my brother, my grandfather. The whole family is in there.”

That’s part of the reason why he became a trustee of the Athens Cemetery Association about 40 years ago and eventually became the CEO of the group about 15 years ago.

This summer, with about $80,000 left in their account, Good and the other trustees decided to disband and turn the cemetery over to the city.

“This happens to about all cemeteries essentially because once the lots are sold you just don’t have much to sell,” he said.

Ohio Revised Code states that if a cemetery is no longer able to run independently, the city is required to take over.

Good said for the most part, it’s been a weight off his shoulders. But after four decades of being in charge of the cemetery, he still has a vested interest in making sure it’s in good hands.

“I do miss it,” he said. “I wouldn’t drive through once every week or so if I didn’t miss it.”

But Good hasn’t been completely cut off from his responsibilities at the cemetery just yet.

He said he’s been working with the city on a consistent basis while officials become acquainted with the bookkeeping process and other logistics.

“There’s been a lot of learning,” Athens Deputy Service-Safety Director Ron Lucas said. “There’s a significant amount of different cogs in the gear that keep things running, and we need to learn those. And we’re still learning.”

Lucas said the city has spent more than $18,600 on the cemetery ever since they took control of it in August. Most of that money was used to repave the central roadway that runs through the property.

The roadway was originally gravel, but had become hard to navigate due to potholes, he said.

The city also pays the salaries of two groundskeepers, who earn $9.50 per hour.

Good said he’s been impressed with the upkeep of the cemetery so far.

“We were all concerned, (and) we just didn’t want it to grow up and look like an eyesore,” he said. “The city has done a better job than what we were ever able to do because we didn’t have the money.”

Jerry Jaeger, who was also a member of the cemetery association, has continued to be involved with the cemetery because he owns Jaeger and Sons Funeral homes.

He said the transition has been fairly smooth.

“They’re doing a nice job looking after it,” Jaeger said. “They’ve maintained the employees that have been working there for a long time.”

Lucas said the city’s next project will be to repair the roof on one of the mausoleums.

He added that the cemetery has also brought in money. So far, Lucas said, there have been ten transactions.

Those transactions have mostly consisted of people buying monuments, but the cemetery also provided one cremation and sold one lot.

Lucas said he wasn't sure of the total revenue yet.

Good said one thing he doesn’t miss about running the cemetery is the hours.

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“It was time consuming because there were a lot of people into genealogy,” he said. “They want to look on the weekends and holidays, and those are the days I like to have off too.”

But the cemetery is still an important place to him, and he said when he goes to visit his wife’s grave, he can’t help but fall back into some of his old duties.

“Even when I go over there now, I’ll do a little extra trimming, taking care of (the plot) myself,” he said. “It gives you peace of mind.”

@wtperkins

wp198712@ohio.edu

 

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