Fairlawn Cemetery Supervisor Kurt Kramer enjoys staying busy amid quiet. He’s especially well suited for his job.

He’s worked at the cemetery for 6 years, and when Gary Stanfield retired about 2 years ago Kurt became Supervisor.

Kurt oversees a crew of 2, and this time of year they spend much of each work day mowing, weed eating and tending the grounds.

This weekend, however, things will get very busy. Memorial Day brings throngs of people to the cemetery to decorate graves and pay respects.

Bringing live flowers to decorate is encouraged—in addition to supporting local florists, the flowers are biodegradable and can eventually be mowed with the rest of the grounds if they are left.

If cemetery visitors want to retrieve the flowers they bring for Memorial Day, they will have until the 3rd Sunday in June to pick them up before they are disposed of.

Cemeteries are popular locations for individuals researching family history, and Kurt says that a steady stream of people visit Fairlawn every year to do genealogy work.

People also walk the cemetery paths or jog there and enjoy the fresh air and quiet. Others walk their dogs or enjoy immersing themselves in the history that the graves represent.

While visitors should be respectful of the graves, there is no stringent set of guidelines regulating the movement of those who spend time at the cemetery and walk amid the graves.

Kurt provided some interesting Fairlawn facts.

Every marked grave is listed in a database, and a kiosk can quickly show visitors where any marked grave is located.

Washington Street divides the cemetery, and both sides are maintained by the City of Elk City.

The oldest marked grave is from 1902, though Kurt is confident that some graves that have lost their markings are older.

Both Union and Confederate soldiers who fought in the American Civil War are buried there.
Of the approximately 10,000 marked graves there, more than 1,000 belong to veterans.

Local Boy Scout Troop 144 will place American flags for the approximately 1,060 veterans’ graves there this weekend, as the Scouts do each year. “We appreciate that greatly,” Kurt said.

Kurt’s grandfather oversaw a cemetery for 50 years, so Kurt grew up appreciating the solitude and quiet that cemeteries provide. He also appreciates the opportunity to maintain Fairlawn Cemetery as the final resting place for thousands.

The public is welcome to visit Fairlawn Cemetery during operating hours and should feel comfortable roaming the grounds while enjoying the peace and serenity, like Kurt does.

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