Summer 2021 Cemetery Update

Summer, 2021, is here, and with it the continuing restoration of the Old Village Cemetery by the Town of Dedham DPW and the Dedham Village Preservation Association, Inc. resumes. This is our third year of implementing the Halvorson Design Master Plan, and much of the worst deterioration has been addressed or scheduled by Joe Flanagan, Director of the DDPW, and his crew. With that said, there is still much to be done. Kevin Duffy and David Ray will continue to repair and clean monuments. This work, which has been ongoing for the past three years, requires patience and expertise to assure that the stones suffer no further damage.

This Summer, thanks to your generous support, we will be able to begin restoring some of the individual plots that are especially at risk. The first on Joe’s schedule is the Howe plot abutting Village Avenue. Last year the two large Hemlocks which had overgrown the plot were removed in preparation for stonework, replicated and restored iron work, and landscaping. This Spring, we added a new line of trees along Village Avenue as part of creating a welcoming and peaceful experience for the hundreds of yearly visitors from all over the world who come in search of family history, as well as for local residents. At the bottom of the Cemetery, abutting Martin Bates St. is a naturally occurring vernal pool. If our budget permits, we are hoping to develop this area into a nature-fed “Rain Garden” that would add a reflective water feature to the serenity and verdancy that we are hoping to achieve as part of the Cemetery’s rebirth.

While the community has responded generously to our project, we still urgently need donations to repair severe erosive deterioration. It is our hope that in the not too distant future, we will be able to transcend into a program of maintenance as required, and to build on our small endowment fund to assure that future costs can be met in perpetuity.

Take a walk through the Cemetery and witness firsthand our work in progress. We think you will be as excited as we are to see this ancient and hallowed ground reawakening to continue to play its critical role in Dedham history.

Spring Planting

In April the Dedham Department of Public Works planted a line of Sugar Maple saplings, bracketed by blossoming Crab Apples, along Village Avenue. More trees and shrubs appropriate to a Colonial Cemetery will be added, this year, as part of the master landscaping plan.

Photo above: Joe Flanagan, Director of the Dedham DPW, and Marie Louise Kehoe, Chairman of the Dedham Village Preservation Assoc., Inc’s Friends of the Old Village Cemetery Committee, admire one of the new saplings, Crab Apple and Sugar Maple trees, planted along the Village Avenue abuttal. Shown in the background is Sisi, Marie Louise’s seven month old Australian Labradoodle pup, granted a 20 minute exemption by Joe from the OVC ban on dogs.

Happy Holidays

The Dedham Village Preservation Assoc., Inc. (501(c)3) and the Town of Dedham gratefully thank all the generous donors who are helping us restore the Old Village Cemetery, one of America’s oldest and most significant Colonial burial grounds. With your help, we are making great progress!

Happy Holidays, and wishing you a healthy and productive 2020.

Marie Louise Kehoe, Chairman
Joseph Flanagan, Director, Dedham DPW

Giving Tuesday 2019

I’d like to personally thank you for your continued support of Dedham’s Old Village Cemetery. Renovation is well underway with the continued cleaning of headstones, removal of dead or overgrown trees, and the installation of handsome new gates at the entrance on Village Avenue. If you haven’t been by the cemetery recently, I’d encourage you to do so, though there is much work yet to be done.

We are bringing Dedham’s history back to life.

Today, on Giving Tuesday, a national day of giving that kicks off the charitable season, I’d like to ask that you make a gift of any size to the Old Village Cemetery.

You can donate here.

We have ambitious plans to return the cemetery to its former glory, ensuring that it will continue to be a treasured historic landmark in Dedham – today and in perpetuity. We can do this with your help!

Many thanks for your consideration.

Happy holidays!

Marie Louise Kehoe

Marie Louise Kehoe’s Letter of Thanks

I want to thank the more than 200 guests who attended the Gravedigger’s Gala on Friday night at the Endicott Estate to benefit the renovation of the Old Village cemetery. I had a wonderful time, and it looked as if everybody else did too, and that was our objective during the many months of planning that went into the event. I am so grateful to the gala Committee for the hard work and dedication that they unselfishly gave on behalf of a cause that has been close to my heart for many years. To Co-chairs Darcy Lane and Maureen Joyce, thank you for your inspired leadership, and to Jonathon Briggs, Anne Cadigan, Nancy Clement, Tracy Driscoll, Joe Flanagan, Michele Heffernan, Mary Louise Kehoe, Jeannine Lathum, Johanna McBrien, Glenn McGibbon, and Ted Russell, thank you for the many talents that you contributed to the planning of an evening of hair-raising good fun. A special thanks to Jim Bride for his tantalizing video promos at the Community Theater that brought the Gravedigger’s Ghost to life after death, and, of course, to Dedham DPW Director, Joe Flanagan, who has been charged with the daunting task of resurrecting the dead, and whose hard work has made this three-year project possible. Joe’s steady hand has guided the work from the beginning, and is everywhere in evidence throughout the Cemetery, from the handsome Village Avenue entrances, to the newly repaired monuments and headstones. And, I am so grateful to the Dedham Visionary Access Corporation, community TV at its best, Executive Director, Donna Greer, and her creative staff, Brian, Dennis, and George, for their coverage prior to, and during, the Gala.

A delightful surprise during the evening was the presentation by State Representative, Paul McMurtry, and State Senator, Mike Rush of a check for $150,000 from the State to the Dedham Village Preservation Association, Inc., the 501(c)3 that is funding this project. I also want to thank those who contributed in-kind to our success: the New England Patriots, the Calgary Flames, Bellestar Jewelry, Horizon Aviation, Bartlett Tree Experts, Jim Bride, Molly Jackson, Nancy Sargent Howell, the Dedham Community Theater, Murph’s Place, Big Bear, Ron’s Ice Cream, Café Tremezzo, King’s Dining & Entertainment, Boston’s Dreamland Wax Museum, Bostonia Public House, Total Wine, Dr. Anna Vishart, DDS, Horizon Beverage Co., M.S. Walker, Inc., Wegman’s, Photographer, Kerry Hawkins, and the artists who contributed their imaginative decorations to the Gravedigger’s shovels: Carol Haggerty, Peter Reynolds, Diane Gaikazova, Wiley Holton, Liz Boston, Sal D’Antona, and rali Weaver…and, finally to Madame Dar-see, whose imaginative flights of fancy into the future bode good things for Dedham and for the Old Village Cemetery Restoration Project. Thank you all, the work continues, and we look forward to seeing you, again, next year.

Sincerely,

Marie Louise Kehoe, Project Chairman

Photo credit: Kerry Hawkins 

Old Village Cemetery Receives $250,000 from the State

On December 11, 2018, Senator Mike Rush and Representative Paul McMurtry presented a $250,000 check to Marie-Louise Kehoe, former State Representative and Dedham Selectman, and Chairman of the Old Village Cemetery Restoration Committee. “My sincere thanks to Senator Rush, Representative McMurty and Governor Baker for making this happen,” said Chairman Kehoe.

Video: Representative Paul McMurtry: Check Presentation

Video: Senator Mike Rush: Check Presentation

Citing the Old Village Cemetery’s significance and importance to the Town of Dedham, MA. and beyond, both legislators remarked on their enthusiasm for its renovation and improvement. “This Cemetery not only tells a story of Dedham but a story of the United States,” commented Senator Rush, a former U.S. History Teacher. Representative McMurtry added that “When we honor our past, we honor our future.”

Chairman Kehoe said that the much-needed funds are to be applied toward the $1Million goal.

“This puts us at $600,000 raised,” she explained. “The balance of $400,000, which will take additional effort to raise, will go into a perpetual care account to ensure that the Cemetery will never be neglected again.”

Video: Chairman Marie-Louise Kehoe: Check Presentation

The renovation effort will commence in the Spring of 2019 and will take about two years to complete.

Video: Host Jim Bride: Check Presentation

Pictured in above photo: Dedham Visionary Access Corporation Executive Director Donna Greer,  Dedham Town Manager Jim Kern, Representative Paul McMurtry, Chairman Marie-Louise Kehoe, Senator Mike Rush, and Old Village Cemetery Committee Member Ted Russell. 

Gatherings

Marie-Louise Kehoe, Chairman of the Old Village Cemetery Committee, has held three informative gatherings of potential supporters at her home, and Peter Reynolds sponsored a presentation at the Blue Bunny in Dedham Center. Attendees viewed Jim Bride’s moving film about the plight of the Cemetery and the plans to restore it. More fund raising gatherings will be held throughout 2018.