In 2009 Laurel Pardo saw a findagrave.com photo request for South Montrose Cemetery,so she went in search of Zebulon Deans headstone and found it lying face up and nearly buried. Next to him was the headstone of his wife, Olive. She posted the photo to findagrave.com and started communicating with the person who requested the photo. Amazingly, she found out that they where cousin through Olives side, as her maiden name was Crocker. So Laurel decided as a surprise to her new cousin, she would repair Zeb’s stone.
For her first step she called upon The Cemetery Association President . He told her that the stone could only be repaired by a family member. He then gave her the go a head with a huge Please and Thank You, thrown in. At this point she needed to decide if she could do this kind of repair or if she had the funds to pay someone to do the repair. Laurel decided she would learn what to do and take on the job herself.
Many people would say don’t try to do this kind of work yourself, find a professional. However, if you live in a rural area, finding a professional can be a problem. Having the funds to pay a professional can also be a problem.
Laurel searched the Internet for information and practiced on rocks in her yard. She decided making a new base for the stone would be the best choice. She used the information at the bottom of this “How To Cast a New Base for a Stone.”
After making the base and waiting for it to dry she had to have the neighbor kid lift it into her car. The base weighed more then she did, however she did manage to get the base to the gravesite. The seniors at the nursing home next door had quite a good time watching her dig the hole for the new base. In the digging she found a large carpenter nail. Zeb was a skilled carpenter and craftsman with woodworking so she buried the nail under the new base.
With a lot of wrestling and help from her husband she got the stone mortared into place. She let it set for a week and then cleaned it.
A job well done was reward enough. Getting a happy tearful messages from her cousin Louise, when she found out Laurel had repaired the stone …. Priceless!
The stone as it stands today, Dec 2011.