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 groups.

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.

Permission to use any images from the GRHC website may be requested by contacting Michael M. Miller