The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Local and State News

June 8, 2014

Cemetery gets upgrades

ENID, Okla. — A new area for burials and cremations has been completed at Memorial Park Cemetery in Enid.

According to cemetery President Robert Claborn, the Garden of Hope — which added 3,000 burial spaces and two columbaria for 576 cremations — was completed just before Memorial Day.

The addition was one of $1 million worth of projects completed since 2007 at the cemetery.

Claborn said the cemetery purchased 30 additional acres, for future use, in 2007. He said a mausoleum, with room for 320 caskets and 256 niches for cremations, was completed in 2009.

All of the improvements have been funded through a perpetual care fund.

According to Claborn, when a space is purchased, 20 percent of the proceeds go to the fund. The cemetery uses interest off of those funds and also receives income from the selling of memorial markers and from the opening and closing of graves. He said the perpetual care fund currently is at about $3.5 million.

The cemetery is a non-profit trust cemetery with a board of directors made up of Enid citizens Kevin Curttright, Connie Sturgeon-Hart, Jed Dillingham, Gerald Blevins and Claborn.

Established on a wheat farm in 1928, the cemetery — located on North U.S. 81 — now has more than 17,000 burials, according to Claborn.

When it first was established, the cemetery development cost about $100,000. Claborn said the cemetery had 45 acres but developed 25 to 30 acres.

Today, there are more than 40 acres developed and the cemetery consists of about 90 acres, he said.

There currently are six full-time employees and additional employees during the summer.

All of the gravestones in the cemetery are grass level, Claborn said.

“In fact, we’re the oldest cemetery in Oklahoma with all grass level markers,” he said.

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