There are jobs that have to be done, but you never really even think about how they get done. One of those is engravings on headstones. I might be one of those weird ducks that appreciate a well-carved headstone, or even a well-carved rock. Sometimes I drive through the cemetery just as a way of checking on the relatives to make sure they are all behaving (some of them are rowdy). Often, I find myself reading the stones and wondering about the people that they are memorializing.

The stones that leave a lump in your throat are the ones of children and babies. Those shouldn't have to be there. But they are. And sometimes when you don't even know them, you wonder what happened, and sometimes if it really sticks with me, I'll do some digging to see if I can discover their story.

The stones with creativity are the ones that make you smile. While often a headstone is the last memorial a person will have of them, the thought put into the design and the words on the stone are what you remember.

I was making a trip to Evergreen Cemetery to talk with the caretaker, Tim Fuchs on other business when I saw a work truck sitting in the drive. Thinking that odd, and figuring that there weren't any utilities underground to be serviced, I went to explore.

It was Mark and Carolyn Phippen. Carolyn was cleaning the area around a headstone, pulling weeds, cutting away the overgrowth from the cement at the base of the stone. She was making sure that the area looked clean and tidy. Mark was setting up his equipment in preparation to add a date to the headstone.

Getting down to the level of the empty space on the stone, which mean laying on the ground. Mark set to work. Preparing the stone to hold the stencil for the engraving, I watched as he carefully lined up the dates. Making sure that it was centered and then he had to make sure that it was straight which can be more work than the rest of the job.

This was a job for expertise, patience, a yardstick, a flashlight, and a good eye. All of which Mark and Carolyn have. The couple worked together to place the stencil just right before engraving the stone.

It takes special people to do this job. People that feel that this job is very important. And people that care. Something that I could obviously see in this couple.

Mark does other types of engraving. For example, if you have a rock that you'd like engraved with your family name or address or any other design. He will give your project the same care as he did today, I would bet on it. You can feel free to reach out to him at 560-6063.

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PK October 11, 2023, 12:22 pm Perhaps one of the saddest things about headstones in any cemetery is the realization that family and friends once stood there after a funeral...cried and appeared grief-stricken. After walking away, they wished they had told the person that they admired them or loved them but never did. Those feelings get mingled with everyday life and fade away. And the living go on living. And in too many cemeteries in too many places those once felt feelings fail to decorate the graves with flowers.
The headstones are bare and unadorned.

What a wonderful gesture to tell those we love how we feel about them NOW...TODAY!!!