North East Cemetery Association: Keep our Fathers final resting place intact!
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For almost 20 years my brothers and I have spent Christmas', Birthdays, Fathers Days and more visiting the final resting place of our Father at OakHill Cemetery in North East, Pa. Instead of celebrations with gifts, treats and hugs we bring flowers, cards and balloons to quietly leave at the graveside, as we have done since May of 1997 when we sat there as 3 young children while the man who raised us practically by himself was laid to rest here.
As we've grown from children to adults and now all with kids of our own they have grown up hearing stories of their grandpa they never got to meet. They never got to spend holidays sitting on grandpas lap or feel his hugs, instead they've grown up visiting him at the one place they've ever known.
Our father was buried next to his own father where he took us as small children to pay our respects, where his mother would be buried also not long after our father.
Spring of 2016 I went to my fathers grave as we have numerous times every year pretty much our entire lives, while caring for the plot I noticed a tree had grown disturbingly close to his headstone, so close it was starting to lift the stone. I immediately contacted my older brother to find out how to handle the tree and the damage it was doing, he contacted my fathers sister and the Cemetery. The Cemetery was to say the least unhelpful and unsympathetic. At first they simply said it was an oak Cemetery the oak tree could not be touched. After some back and forth and promises to contact lawyers and the news they finally agreed to at least remove the roots of the tree and possibly the tree depending on how much of the root system had to be removed. They informed us that even though we had no say in a contractor that we would be responsible for the cost and also that we would be responsible if they did any damage to our fathers headstone. Weighing the possibility of it potentially being destroyed forever by the tree we agreed, we just wanted it handled before it got any worse. They promised they would get started on it as soon as the holiday was over so the Cemetery wasn't tore up and a mess throughout Memorial Day weekend, as this is also the anniversary of our fathers passing we agreed that was best. They promised to let us know when work would start so we could remove any personal items we had left in the past 20 years, as well as the brick/edging I had just done the previous year which had also become crooked and lifted from the tree. Not a single word from them after, we have attempted to contact them with no response. It is currently February 2017, almost a year since we first contacted them begging them to have this handled. We are now asking for the publics help in convincing North East Cemetery Association of North East Pa to remove the entire tree not just the roots, as soon as the ground thaws enough to do so.
In less than 20 years this tree has grown so large and so close to my fathers gravesite I cannot imagine what another 10 or 20 years will do. Where will our children go to pay their respects to their grandpa, where will their children go? What will be left when we want to take our grandchildren to learn about the loving and selfless man who would've done anything for his 3 kids, the man who was wrongfully and abruptly stolen from our lives forever?
We hope that with enough signatures and support the North East Cemetery Association will realize how cold and heartlessly they have chosen to handle this matter and completely remove the tree from our fathers plot that they placed there with no consideration to the damage it would do.
Added: Our Father grew up in the North East/Erie Pa area, some of you might've known him. His name was Patrick Tunison, he was a good man, a great father, a kind and hardworking man, he deserves better than this, everyone's loved ones deserve better than this.
The trees the cemetery has carelessly placed without any concent from the plot owners are affecting numerous plots throughout the cemetery, not just our Dads.
Update- Contrary to the statement made by the cemetery our family did not choose the plot because of the tree, it was chosen because his parents are buried on his side opposite the tree.
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