Riverview Cemetery Gets A Fresh Look
Published: May 27th, 2024

Riverview Cemetery gets a fresh look You will find a new look in the upper level of the Riverview Cemetery in Oxford. The new signage was accomplished by the hard work of many board members, volunteers, and a donation of the metal letter plate from Raymond Corp in Greene, NY. (Submitted photo)

OXFORD — The Riverview Cemetery Association has been very busy this past year, making many needed improvements to the grounds of the historic Riverview Cemetery in the Village of Oxford.

Driving into the cemetery, you will notice a difference right away: the removal of many trees. The older trees were becoming a problem, dropping large branches with every wind storm, causing damage to monuments, and creating a hazard for visitors.

An action plan was made to start the process to eliminate the most dangerous. Don Stevens coordinated the process, ear-marking which trees were considered the biggest threat. Brandon Howe and Brandon Shaw took care of dropping the trees, which was no easy task, working around existing monuments.

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Board members Jim Tefft and Gary Wade were an integral part of disposing the excess wood. Thank you volunteers Shane Webster, Andrew Clark, Jeff and Brent Page, and Tim Roys. We would like to thank the crew from the Village of Oxford, who took care of the final stage, grinding the stumps.

There are future plans to remove more trees, but that will be dependent on donations to help offset the cost. Tree removal is an expensive process, but necessary for the safety of our visitors and protection of existing monuments.

The second thing you will observe is the signage throughout the grounds on the upper level. A plan was put into place to improve identification of the upper level. Previous section names were difficult and confusing to locate, so our goal was to make the cemetery more user-friendly when family and friends come to visit. A Record Management Committee was formed with a goal to rename the sections, to organize the placement of the posts, make a new map, and update the records.

The borderlines of each section, for the most part, have not changed, just the name of the section. This does not affect old deeds, but all future deeds will reflect the new section names. A new map has been posted on the shed at the main entrance and one on the lower level bulletin board.

Special thank you to Michael O’Reilly, PE, of Principle Design & Engineering, in Norwich, for donating his services in helping us produce a new map. A transition sheet that lists the old to new section names is also posted. With the upper level sections now labeled alphabetically and the lower level sections numerical, it has created an easier environment to navigate.

Future plans are to put signs in the lower level. We would like to thank Raymond Corporation for the donation of the metal signs, and Gary Wade for spearheading the cutting and milling of the locust posts, along with Jim and Jaimie Tefft. The posts were put into place by Stu L’Hommedieu, with help from Jason and Larry Boise, who lent their equipment and donated their time. Many of the board members stepped in and helped complete this project.

As you enter the main gate off Albany Street, you can’t help but appreciate the beauty of the cemetery. We are fortunate to have C & J Lawn Care do the mowing, trimming, and overall care of the grounds. It is a tedious job, but they manage to maintain it to a high level. We also have a new flag in the honorary circle at the main entrance, thanks to a donation from the American Legion. You may not notice, but many of the monuments throughout the cemetery have been cleaned and small repairs made, thanks to the efforts of Karen Covell.

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Behind the scenes, the Record Management Committee has been working on digitizing all the burial records. Diane Branham has taken on that challenge. Many of the very old stones have been damaged and the old written records are hard to locate, but at present there are close to 6,200 burials documented.

Many improvements were completed this last year, but there is still much more to be done: more trees to remove, monument repairs, and signage for the lower level. There are also many expenses that must be covered annually from insurance premiums to ground maintenance. These expenses are a huge financial burden for the Riverview Cemetery Association and this is where we need your help. Please consider making a donation to help offset these costs so we can continue to care for your family and friends’ final resting place. You can mail your check to Riverview Cemetery Association, PO Box 256, Oxford, NY 13830. Thank you in advance.

All of the board members have made a huge commitment, helping each other and putting in a great deal of effort, volunteering their time to manage, maintain, and preserve this beautiful historic cemetery. If you have any questions, feel free to contact: Ann Paster (Pres.), Karen Covell (V Pres.), Mark Drewniak (Treas.), Holly Abbott (Sec.), Stu L’Hommedieu – (Board Chair.), Diane Branham, Mike Cobb, Greg Ross, Jim Tefft, Gary Wade, or Lawrence Wilcox.

-Information provided by the Riverview Cemetery Association