STANLEY––Around here, folks know that preserving the past is a mighty important thing.
And in Stanley, a dedicated bunch of volunteers has been recognized for doing just that. At a recent meeting of the Stanley Town Council, the group honored the members of the Stanley Cemetery Ancestry Fund Committee. A nonprofit organization with a mission to preserve the graves of the more-than 200-year-old Stanley Cemetery into perpetuity, the group’s committee members are Bob Mahovsky, Barry Summey, Colin Withers, Rev. Dan King, pastor emeritus of the First Presbyterian Church of Stanley, Rev. Wesley Frye of Christ Lutheran Church of Stanley and committee treasurer Thomas Deese.
Mahovsky is a member of Christ Lutheran, which abuts the cemetery. Mahovsky told The Herald more about this worthy cause on Thursday, and he extolled his friends for their work on the committee.
“This is a wonderful group of very talented, good guys,” he said.
Mahovsky continued that the committee and its related fund were formed in 2017. The purpose of the fund, he said, is not just day-to-day lawn maintenance. The primary purpose is to create an endowment—a perpetual care fund that will see to it that the historic cemetery is taken care of for long generations ahead.
Mahovsky revealed that retired local basketball coach Doris Cope is spearheading efforts to get the cemetery listed on the National Register of Historic Places. He added that the earliest of its more than 1,600 graves date to the first decade of the 1800’s. The cemetery actually predates the existence of Christ Lutheran. Mahovsky noted that soldiers of the American Revolution are buried there in unmarked graves. And in all, some 109 soldiers from that war and every subsequent conflict on up to the Vietnam War have the Stanley Cemetery as the final repository of their earthly remains.
Mahovsky thanked the Town of Stanley for its partnership with the committee. He stressed that this doesn’t mean monetary donations but rather in-kind donations, such as providing a truck for the removal of tree limbs or helping in the ongoing war with fire ants.
“The Town has really become a good partner in this with us,” he said, and he also thanked Mayor Steven Denton and Stanley Town Manager Heath Jenkins for their own individual personal (not Town of Stanley) contributions.
It takes a village. Donors have also come from all of Stanley’s churches, as Mahovsky noted.
Want to contribute to the preservation of this important part of local history? Mahovsky encourages you to send your donations to:
The Stanley Cemetery Ancestry Fund, c/o Treasurer Thomas Deese, PO Box 772, Stanley, NC 28164.
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