Sunday, August 28, 2011

Bringing our Cemetery to the Digital Age

For those of you who have visited our fair cemetery, you have likely encountered our directory. The directory, believed to have been built in the 1950s, has served its cemetery well for all of those years, helping visitors find their loved ones once more. However, time and weather have not been kind to our directory. The cemetery it was built to serve has grown to the point there is no longer room on the directory board for new residents, and water leaks make the paper copies illegible.

While searching for a better replacement, I came across Windy Prairie Systems, a company out of Lincoln, NE that specializes in directories, the most interesting of which is a digital touch-screen directory. The directory consists of an all weather touch-screen computer mounted on a steel pedestal mount. But what is really amazing about this directory is the easy to use software and the add-on features. Navigating the directory is extremely simple and can be operated by anyone, even those who have no experience with computers. Simply follow the screen and voice instructions, type in the first four letters of the resident you are searching for, and you are good to go. Once the resident is chosen, the location, the date of birth, and the death date are shown along with an interactive map to help the searching find their search-ee.

But the features do not end there. If a family of a loved one so chooses, they can celebrate their life by purchasing a virtual memorial. With a virtual memorial, things such as photos, obituaries, audio, and videos can be added to the resident's page for all visitors to see. No longer is a cemetery just a place to view headstones, but a way to reconnect with those who are lost to us.

However, a new directory is not cheap whichever direction we choose to go. The cemetery is a service to the community it serves and in no way self-sufficient. This makes proper maintenance and changes difficult. The directory's purpose is to help serve the community and we are who will help raise these funds. We are currently looking for donations of all kinds, including memorials, private donations, and group donations. All donations will be honored on a screen page of the directory. Rotary has already begun some fundraising for the directory, but we are still a long way off from our goal. If you feel like making a donation, please visit the city office. It is time to begin bringing our beloved Oberlin into the 21st century and a new digital directory is a great step towards this goal. Thank you and if you have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask me about this issue or anything else involved with my occupation.


Hello and welcome to The Life of a Cemetery blog! My name is Jeremy Tally and I am the sexton at the Oberlin Cemetery in Oberlin, KS. The cemetery lies on 30 acres of the northeast corner of town and is currently the last resting place of around 4,300 residents. It has been an honor and a pleasure of mine to take care of such a beautiful cemetery and now I want to share that experience with readers while also helping to share the goings-on of our cemetery. Few people know the thought and care needed to be a good sexton, but hopefully this blog will give some insight into my daily workload.