Thanks at Thanksgiving: Gettys' work at cemetery results in grateful family

Posted: Thursday, November 28, 2002

All to often life is taken for granted by the living, and sometimes we can take those who have passed for granted as well. The story I have to tell happened to my family.

Just more than 17 years ago, my stepfather passed away unexpectedly. My mother was left with three teen-agers and funeral expenses. To make matters worse, things happened beyond our control and our father's grave was never marked. This was unknown to us until years later.

My mother has since moved out of state, but has returned a number of times over the years to locate his burial plot and have it marked. This proved fruitless because the cemetery had changed administration on different occasions and records had been misplaced and/or lost.

I decided approximately seven years ago to see if I could help my mother on her quest to find our stepfather's gravesite because his mother was extremely ill and she, along with all of the family, wanted closure. This could have been the only possibility for his mother to say goodby to her son.

Despite our best efforts we were unsuccessful, and his mother, our grandmother, passed without being able to place flowers where her son had been laid to rest. My mother was, until recently, taking a tremendous amount of the blame from the family for the loss of the grave location. Keep in mind my mother never lost the location, the cemetery administration did and did this without ever having placed the headstone that my mother had previously paid for. We cannot even locate the headstone.

And now after years the search has come to an end. I recently contacted the office of Sen. Jerry Ward and asked for help in our search. At that time it was brought to my attention by an individual on staff for Sen. Ward that there were two gentlemen donating a lot of their time at the Kenai Cemetery in cleanup efforts and reposting of names to many of the graves sites located there.

Using this information and a recent newspaper article about these two people I contacted them to ask for their assistance. I found that Mr. Frank Getty and his son Greg were heavily involved in a self-imposed project to beautify and repair our city's cemetery.

I was surprised when within 35 minutes of my first phone call to them that a call was returned by Greg Getty telling me that they had located the burial site.

My family is grateful and indebted to these people for the time they gave and the services they have rendered. We are thankful we were the recipients of some of their efforts.

You see, the success we had in their assistance is also their success as well. We were told that at the time there were 85 unmarked grave sites and now there are only 84.

God bless you, Frank and Greg Getty for the help you extended our family in finding a lost loved one.

Tina Kivi-Gage, Kenai

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