The Royal Oak Cemetery Board is an advisory board appointed by the Royal Oak City Commission. It makes policies regarding the operation of the cemetery, burials, sale of gravesites, and landscaping, and makes recommendations to the superintendent of the Cemetery. At the present time, the Superintendent is Gregory Rassel, Superintendent of Public Services for the City.
The Royal Oak Cemetery is located in the triangle formed by Twelve Mile Road, Rochester Road, and Main Street. The first burial at this location was in 1826, and after that the cemetery grew as a community project without rules. In 1857 it was put under the authority of the Royal Oak Township Board of Health. After Royal Oak became a city, in 1922, the cemetery was operated under a joint agreement with the township with a four-member board - two appointed by the township and two appointed by the city. By 1977 the cemetery Board was inactive, but in 1933 a city ordinance was adopted creating a new Cemetery Board.
In this small piece of land, approximately 6 acres, lie the remains of many of the pioneers of Royal Oak Township, the Village of Royal Oak, and the City of Royal Oak. The Cemetery Board has identified the graves of more than 100 veterans of almost every war America has fought. Ezra Parker and Elijah Drake, both soldiers of the American Revolution, are buried here. Many people visit the cemetery just to study the history of our community. Take the Walking Tour.
Presently the Cemetery Board is made up of five people. The term of office is three years. Those serving in the year 2001 are:
Lois A. Lance, Chair
Linda Penney, Vice-Chair
David G. Penney, Secretary
Greg Rassel, ex-officio
Lance & Linda Penney
Korkoian, David Penney, Stephenson and Rassel
Application to fill a vacancy on this board should be made at the office of the City Clerk in the City Hall. Applicants must have an interest in serving the City, and must be a resident of the City.
The Cemetery Board applied to the Michigan Department of State, Bureau of History to have the Royal Oak Cemetery designated a Michigan Historic Site, which is a pre-requisite to obtaining a Michigan Historic Marker. The Marker was dedicated October 20, 1996. It was a joint project between the City of Royal Oak and St. Mary Catholic Community. The Michigan Historic Marker stands on the boundary betwen the two cemeteries.
The report of the Cemetery Board written sometime in the 1920's when the members were Edwin A. Starr, Josiah Heavener, Mrs. Clara Erb Kidder, and Ella Parker Benjamin ended with these words: "This spot is hallowed ground. It is of historic interest."
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