A New Look for St. Ann’s Cemetery
Hager, Lynsey. "A New Look for St. Ann’s Cemetery." Pierce County Tribune, 28 May 2005, 8 .
When St. Ann’s Church in Fillmore closed, the parishioners
were left with a cemetery without a church.
Thinking that perhaps the cemetery would one day be disbanded and
the graves relocated, many who would have been buried in St. Ann’s
Cemetery chose to be buried elsewhere. However, with recent efforts
to spruce up the cemetery, that could change in coming years.
A sign marking the cemetery’s
entrance was installed about a year ago.
Christ Jaeger, Rugby, stands
next to the new cross at St. Ann’s Cemetery. Jaeger was
one of a few who spearheaded a project to improve the cemetery
Lorraine Thompson, Christ Jaeger and his daughter Carolyn Odden,
have lead the effort to receive the look of the cemetery. Thanks
to the generous donations of the former parishioners and some help
from the Dioceses of Fargo, the three have raised money improve
the appearance of the cemetery. In recent years, brick pillars and
an ornate metal sign marking the entrance to the cemetery have been
added, and trees were planted along the edges about a year ago.
The most recent addition to the cemetery is a large iron cross
inspired by the Russian metal crosses seen in early North Dakota
cemeteries. Jaeger said that this new cross replaced an old copper
cross that had lost its shine and had begun to deteriorate in the
approximately 50 years it had been in Rugby’s Catholic cemetery
for nearly as many years before it was given to Father Miller, who
moved the cross to Fillmore’s newly established cemetery in
approximately 1952. The church had been built just a few years earlier,
and Jaeger recalled pushing wheelbarrows and helping to build the
church as a teenager.
The old rugged cross has been donated to the Prairie Village Museum
and will be placed in the chapel on the museum grounds.
The new cross was created this spring at Rugby Welding and Machine
by Ron Fritel and Vince Mattern, using a book from the local library
as a guide. It was painted at Precision Auto Body by Todd Munyer.
The cross took about a week to build, and it stands seven feet tall
and weighs about 1,000 pounds. Rugby Welding and Machine moved the
cross to Fillmore in mid April, and Jaeger said a tractor loader
was used to lift it into the place the old cross once occupied.
The total cost of the sign and cross was approximately $2, 300.
Jaeger said it was their aim to continue the family tradition through
the cemetery, adding that his wife is buried there and his family
also wants to be buried there someday, and others have also expressed
interest in being buried there as well. Through spaces aren’t
for sale, they can be reserved simply by getting one’s name
listed in the cemetery book. Currently, there are 25 grave stones
in the cemetery and many open spaces available.
Reprinted with permission of the Pierce County Tribune.