By Lydia Beers
MARSHALL CO. — The LaPaz Lions Club is hard at work on a project that was near and dear to two former Marshall County Historical Society board members’ hearts.
Elizabeth Marshall and Kathryn Weissert, who have both passed away, had focused for some time on erecting signs at the county’s unmarked cemeteries. Lions secretary and treasurer Don Balka said that for those looking for genealogy information, unmarked cemeteries can pose a real problem.
“Our museum has one of the best genealogy areas around,” said Balka, “Now people are able to locate their relatives a little better, with the cemetery signs in place.”
Since receiving a grant from the Marshall County Community Foundation last year, the Lions have been working on fulfilling the dream started by Marshall and Weisert. This involves getting official approval for each sign through the Indiana Historical Bureau. The total cost for the project is estimated at around $12,000, and each sign costs $250. The project is being paid for through the grant, township trustees, the town of Bourbon, and the LaPaz Lions.
“There are many more (unmarked cemeteries) that are not township cemeteries, so we have to contact the owners,” added Balka.
He said that by the time the project is done, the Lions will have placed signs at more than 40 cemeteries. The next set of signs will be erected in Union Township. Due to a change in policy at the Indiana Historical Bureau, the signs will not be available until next spring — but they have been approved.
Balka said that the grant funds have been extended for another year in order to allow the Lions to complete the project.
Owners and cemetery associations interested in obtaining signs for unmarked cemeteries should contact Balka, 574-784-3382.