MUNHALL (KDKA) — The 34-acre Homestead Cemetery in Munhall ceased operations this past Tuesday, because it has run out of money.
And efforts to come up with a financial plan to save the cemetery failed.
The cemetery – opened in the 1880s – is home to dozens of Civil War veterans.
This week, every member of the all-volunteer Board of Trustees resigned, except for the Board President, Cathy Morrow. It’s expected that the cemetery will file for bankruptcy in about two weeks.
Mayor Raymond Bodnar of Munhall, a member of the Board, told KDKA-TV’s Ralph Iannotti last night, “I’m very disappointed that it has come to this, the cemetery, unfortunately, has to be bankrupt because of a lack of public support, and a lack of funerals.”
There have only been about a half-dozen funerals so far this year.
KDKA’s Marty Griffin Reports:
Bodnar pointed out that the nearly 140-year-old cemetery has no such thing as “perpetual care,” which would provide more funding for the non-profit cemetery after someone was buried in the graveyard.
Bodnar also thinks other Mon Valley communities – like Whittaker, West Mifflin and Lincoln Place – should help in solving the cemetery’s money problems.
Once bankruptcy is filed, the courts will appoint a trustee to oversee cemetery operations. But until then, no one can purchase a cemetery lot there, and if a loved one dies and already has a family plot in the cemetery, it will mean the family will have to find a contractor to open the gravesite for burial.
Munhall Funeral Director Michael Aldrich said last night “death isn’t a scheduled thing, like a thief in the night, someone may die and want to be buried [in the Homestead Cemetery], and I don’t think it’s [now] possible.”
Aldrich said, “death doesn’t wait, you can’t say – well, great, great grandma you just lay there dead, until we figure out where we’re going to bury you in a grave, that was paid for 30 years ago [in the Homestead Cemetery].”