Bethlehem Community Cemetery will host a decorating event | Local News


From staff reports

This weekend, the Bethlehem Community Cemetery Board, near the Old Fort, will hold the traditional decorating event to remember those buried there.

The Bethlehem Community Cemetery will be celebrating deceased loved ones from Friday, August 26 through Sunday, August 28. Located on Old Fort Sugar Hill Road, the cemetery, comprising 4.76 acres, has had at least 800 burials since its beginnings in the 1860s.

“During this time, we raise most of the money to maintain the grounds through donations over the weekend,” said Bob Smith, a member of the cemetery’s board of trustees. “We set up a table this weekend to accept cash or check donations.”

Weather permitting, the table should be occupied from early Friday afternoon to late afternoon and Saturday and Sunday from 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. If you miss meeting one of the council members (who can help someone at a grave), then please post your donation, according to a press release.

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Westmoreland Funeral Home graciously offered to provide one of their tents and board members said they thanked the funeral home for the comfort it provides.

“There are no paid employees or executives,” Smith said. “Mowing costs close to $500 every two weeks during mowing season and involves a lot of manual weeding. Funeral homes and others have told us that ours is one of the most beautiful cemeteries around.

Sales of burial plots complement these donations to some extent. Currently, plots cost $600 each. The cemetery board is considering developing a section for cremation graves with smaller plots at a reduced cost and has a policy of placing cremains on an existing burial plot for a reduced fee.

Additionally, many families have died, moved away, cannot contribute for various reasons, or are simply unaware of the circumstances, according to the press release.

To help with the cemetery, checks can be mailed to Bethlehem Community Cemetery Inc, C/O Robert Smith, 656 Old Fort Sugar Hill Road, Old Fort, NC 28762. You are asked to make them payable to of Bethlehem Community Cemetery Inc.

If a family member dies, you might consider listing the cemetery as a memorial recipient to honor them.

“We are a non-profit corporation created to preserve and maintain this cemetery,” Smith said. “Your check should serve as your receipt if you use it as a tax deduction. Donors can receive a receipt upon request and mail is not recommended for cash.

The cemetery board currently consists of Betty Lindley, Betty Reel, Tony Silver, Rick Setzer and Bob Smith (who has served on the board for over 20 years). If you have any questions, contact Bob Smith at 828-925-7070.

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