Evergreen Cemetery is rare and astonishing treasure
Although I grew up in Racine, I have had the privilege of visiting Evergreen Cemetery in Fort Atkinson since my childhood. Through those early years, my parents faithfully drove to Evergreen to visit the relatives’ graves, especially on Memorial Days. Now for 25 years I have made that same trip from Racine, or even from Arizona, to stand at the graves of my dear parents, Ann and Wilmer Burow.
I am writing to the Fort Atkinson community today, however, with special admiration for Evergreen because never had I seen it more beautiful and more perfectly manicured than on my May 30th visit. Such stately beauty, I know, is a reflection of the efforts of Brad Wilcox, the cemetery’s longest serving board president (since 2000); Neal Traeder, also the longest serving sexton in Evergreen’s 158-year history; Raughn Ferrell, the grounds supervisor; and Janet Majesky, who cares for 875 of the cemetery’s urns. And, of course, it is due to the loving attention of all those who honor their loved ones.
Taking my time, I took in the setting of magnificent trees overhead, the manicured lawns, the charming cottage and the elegant Bellman Carillon Tower. And it was stirring to view the Soldiers Circle, Court of Honor, the Memorial Court and flags flying everywhere in honor of our veterans. And I gave thanks for my own parents resting at Evergreen.
Evergreen is a rare and astonishing treasure. In a world of rapid change and often of depersonalization, it remains steadfast. Evergreen silently captures the history of Fort Atkinson and our ancestors. And it provides its beauty as comfort to those who mourn and remember.