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Public invited to ceremony to honor Westborough State Hospital patients

Local boy scouts placed small orange flags and planted daffodils on the graves of Westborough State Hospital patients who are buried in the Potter’s Field at the Pine Grove Cemetery.
Photo/Sarah Utka

By Bonnie Adams, Managing Editor

Westborough – For decades, if patients at the Westborough State Hospital passed away without any family members to take care of their final arrangements, they would be buried in the Potter’s Field at the town’s Pine Grove Cemetery. The patients’ would be buried in a simple wooden box with only a small numbered stone to mark their graves. In many cases the stone disintegrated over time. And over the years, the hundreds of patients were then forgotten about by most, just a sad footnote to history.

But, thanks to a group of dedicated volunteers, the Westborough Cemetery Project aims to change that. The members are committed to building a monument to the patients at the cemetery so that they will finally be given the respect and dignity that they deserve.

The group is inviting the public to a special groundbreaking ceremony for the memorial on Saturday, May 20, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Individual pavers will then be placed at the site with the names of the patients to be inscribed at a later date. Music and light refreshments will accompany the service.

The group is working with Ed Clinton, an architect from Holliston, on a concept for the memorial. Estimated to cost $30,000, the memorial will have five granite slabs, with a bronze plaque mounted on each with approximately 100 names of former patients.

Over the past year, two local Boy Scouts, Tim Sherman and Colin Caron, have each devoted time using metal detectors to locate the graves and mark them.

For Tim’s Eagle Scout project, he proposed finding and resetting as many of the unmarked graves as he could find. He spent 63 hours planning the project and supervising the 25 volunteers that worked for 160 hours on it. A total of 366 grave markers were reset.

Westborough resident Barbara Barnes also created a database by matching up records from old town ledgers to the Scouts’ findings. Through their combined efforts, hundreds of patients’ graves have been identified.

For more information contact Sarah Utka at 508-320-5120 or sutka@advocates.org or visit westboroughcemetery.org.

For those who wish to make a donation, send checks made out to the “Westborough Cemetery Memorial Project Fund” and mail to P.O. Box 3198, Framingham, MA 01705.

Donations can also be made via the group’s Facebook page (http://facebook.com/WestboroStateHospitalCemeteryProject) and by clicking on the “Go Fund Me Link”: http://facebook.com/WestboroStateHospitalCemeteryProject. All donations are tax deductible.

 

Short URL: http://www.communityadvocate.com/?p=87273

Posted by on May 10 2017. Filed under Byline Stories, This Just In, Westborough. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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