Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Cemetery's Condition Angers Relatives `I Feel Mighty Bad to . . . See All These Weeds,' Says Daughter of Buried Woman

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Cemetery's Condition Angers Relatives `I Feel Mighty Bad to . . . See All These Weeds,' Says Daughter of Buried Woman

Article excerpt

Relatives of those buried at Greenwood Memorial Cemetery in Hillsdale have the same problem as the families of those at Gatewood Gardens Cemetery in St. Louis had last summer - they can't hack their way through the brush and weeds to find their family graves.

"I feel mighty bad to come out here and see all these weeds," said Margaret Hogue of St. Louis, surveying the dale where her mother rests. "It looks like I threw my mother away."

Hogue cannot reach her mother's grave. Last time she saw it, the tombstone had sunk into the ground. She is trying to get the problem repaired.

St. Louis health officials successfully prosecuted Solomon Rooks, the owner of Gatewood Gardens, 7135 Gravois Avenue, to force him to clean up the cemetery.

Rooks also is the regional director of the Congress of Racial Equality, which owns Greenwood, according to property records in St. Louis and St. Louis County.

Overgrowth obscures tombstones in most of Greenwood Cemetery, 6571 St. Louis Avenue. Weeds and brush scrape the sides and undercarriages of vehicles that attempt to drive on the narrow, broken roads.

The telephone number on the sign at the cemetery has been disconnected, and the office is locked.

Rooks said in late November that he hoped to begin cleanup at Greenwood on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. But the weeds appeared untouched last week.

He also said new office telephones would be connected by that day. The information operator had no new listing as of Dec. 1. By last week, the information operator gave a number of 383-8384 for Greenwood. No one answered at that number.

Hillsdale has issued warrants against a former Greenwood owner, Floyd Harris, for the overgrown cemetery. But Harris said his connections with Greenwood ended in May when one of his companies, Catewood Industries Inc, deeded the property to the Congress of Racial Equality.

Hillsdale police said they had been trying to find Rooks to serve a summons.

City Attorney Alan Baker said Greenwood's condition was a lingering issue. The Post-Dispatch reported complaints about the cemetery in 1983 and 1990.

More recently, Clarence Perry of Overland has been trying to place a monument on his mother's grave. …

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