- Associated Press - Monday, February 29, 2016

STILLWATER, Okla. (AP) - Even the dead need a makeover.

Susy Flaming, a Tulsa resident, has taken it upon herself to try to spruce up a historic cemetery in Ingalls.

“I have just developed a soft spot in my heart for this cemetery,” Flaming told Stillwater News Press (https://bit.ly/21lUyX3 ).

The cemetery was set in 1893 and the years haven’t been kind to it.

Some of the 500 headstones have cracked, started to lean or have fallen and broke.

Flaming, who has four generations of her family buried in the cemetery, said for the past 40 years it has had a caretaker, Lorraine Owens, but she is now in her 80s, and it’s extremely hard for her take care of it.

Another issue Owens has faced has been getting financing.

The Ingalls Cemetery Association owns the property and Owens manages it, and Flaming said in the past, the fees that were obtained from selling a plot in the cemetery would be put in a fund to finance upkeep, but the interest rates were so low it didn’t generate anything.

“At this point, she’s totally dependent on donations just to mow the property,” Flaming said.

A few months ago, Flaming decided to try to help.

She set up a GoFundMe account to get donations from the public to pay for new headstones and mowing at the cemetery. Not long after it was set up, the account had $500 donated to it.

“We’ve been able to reset 14 headstones,” Flaming said. “We took care of the really critical needs.”

For Flaming, the cemetery is extremely important to Payne County due to its historical value.

Flaming said there are six union soldiers buried there, as well as a doctor who tended to the wounded after a legendary shootout that included the Doolin-Dalton gang.

Flaming’s goal for the cemetery is $2,000, and she said that financing would not only help the cemetery, but would aslo help Owens.

“She goes out there every Memorial Day for three days, hoping that someone will come out to put flowers on a grave so she can ask them for donations,” Flaming said.


Information from: Stillwater News Press, https://www.stwnewspress.com

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