When a loved one passes, their final wishes fall to their family and friends to accomplish. But what happens when your loved one’s final wish is to be buried in a cemetery that no one owns? Well, for one family, they went about creating a cemetery association and buying the cemetery.
In June 2013, Evie Crawford passed away. As her final wish, Crawford wanted to be buried at Sparks Cemetery, which was near her family’s farm. The problem was no one actually owned the cemetery.
“’We had the grave dug when she died and were told we could bury out here,’ recalled her former husband, Tracy Crawford. ‘Two days before the funeral, the county attorney called us and said we couldn’t do that. It was considered abandoned, (Abandoned, Koperski).'”
The family found out that because no one owned the property, there was no way to purchase a deed or even receive permission to bury Crawford. The family was at a loss. Crawford was buried in nearby Evergreen Cemetery until her family could find a way to fulfill her final wish.
By 2014, the family approached County Board & then-Senator Norm Wallman, who helped the family by introducing LB855 that allowed the family to form a cemetery association and purchase Sparks Cemetery, which they renamed Countryside Cemetery.
On Thursday, after filling out all the proper paperwork and working with a mortician, the Crawford family watched as Evie was lowered into her final resting place and were able to fulfill her final wish.