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Lost loved ones remembered

December 20, 1997

Lost loved ones remembered

By RICHARD F. BELISLE

Staff Writer

Once again this Christmas, for the fourth consecutive year, more than 4,000 loved ones buried at Cedar Lawn Memorial Park Inc. will be remembered with luminaires over their graves put there by a bunch of Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts from Williamsport and other volunteers.

Rocky Willis, whose husband Jeff Willis is the Scoutmaster for Boy Scout Troop 58, said about 30 Scouts and members of Cub Scout Pack 58 set out the luminaires Saturday morning. The Scouts and other volunteers began lighting them at dusk.

"My mother is buried here," Rocky Willis said. "I thought this would be a nice way to remember her. The Scouts volunteered to help."

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The luminaires are paid for by Cedar Lawn officials. The Scouts and cemetery workers assembled them two weeks ago in a garage at the cemetery.

"It takes four to five hours to do them," Willis said.

Richard Freeman, vice president of Cedar Lawn at 17636 W. Washington St., said the cemetery provides hot chocolate and doughnuts.

"We make a day of it," he said.

Willis said the exercise is good for the youngsters.

"A lot of them read the grave markings. They seem surprised to learn that some children have died who are younger than they are. They'll say this one died at 2 or 7 or they'll see a grave where someone died who was 97."

Willis, 42, said more than 300 residents drive through the cemetery the night the luminaires are lit. It's always the Saturday before Christmas, she said.

She also said many motorists park on the main road outside the cemetery and look in.

"They don't get the full effect. When you come in and see the luminaries all lit up you realize how many people before you have passed on," she said.

"Many of the people buried here don't have any relatives left to remember them so we can do it for them. It just makes me feel warm all over," she said.

"We do this every year because it helps to unite families who have something in common. They've all lost loved ones," Freeman said.

"We never have problems getting volunteers to help," he said.

Charles Brown, owner of Rest Haven Cemetery and Mausoleum at 1601 Pennsylvania Ave., said volunteers there put out 10,000 luminaries Saturday.

"This is out 10th year," he said.

Greenlawn Cemetery at 127 Britner Ave., in Williamsport did their luminaries a week ago, said Todd Snook, vice president. He said volunteers there put out about 2,000.

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