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Improvements underway at Taber Cemetery

Posted on August 10, 2023 by Taber Times
Photo submitted

By Heather Cameron
Taber Times
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Taber Memorial Gardens, the cemetery for Taber, is currently receiving some improvements.

“We are always looking for ideas and ways to respectfully enhance the cemetery, while bringing features to the area that can be appreciated by families and visitors alike,” Kerry Van Ham, Administrative Services Manager, FOIP Coordinator, and Commissioner for Oaths for the Town of Taber, said.

Van Ham says that the Taber Memorial Gardens Mapping Project was initiated and installed in 2017 and involved a complete refresh of the previous cemetery map and included row markers and a detailed interpretive map for the Gardens.  

“This was a multi award-winning project,” Van Ham said.

The most recent addition to the cemetery, Van Ham stated, is the construction of Row K South.  

“This capital project involved the installation of additional burial locations consisting of a continuous concrete base pour (the concrete that monuments sit on in the new section of the cemetery) and the irrigation,” Van Ham said. “In 2022, Council authorized a total of $100,000.00 for the 2023 capital project for the Row K South completion. We are delighted to say that the finishing touches are being made on Row K South as we speak.”

The other improvement, Van Ham says, is the completion of the on-line cemetery database and mapping, to which the Town has been working on for over one year.  This, Van Ham says, involved inputting all of the records stemming back to the very beginnings of the cemetery. People, Van Ham says, can search by name, interment date, or veteran status, if the Town was made aware of the person’s veteran status at the time of burial or since. The on-line cemetery database and mapping project were been completed earlier this year.

“One of our Cemetery Staff’s most-asked questions is “do you have an online way to search for who is interred in the Taber Memorial Gardens?” Van Ham said. “And we are pleased to say that the answer is now yes.  We are also frequently asked directions to a love-one’s gravesite, and now we have mapping.  For those interested in genealogical research, this tool will be able to tell you if someone is interred in the Taber Memorial Gardens, and has mapping that shows you the location of the grave.  We are hoping this assists families doing research even if they can’t make it in person to see the paper records.  We also hope the mapping helps everyone find their loved ones more easily, so you can spend more time in remembrance than in searching for the grave.”

According to Van Ham, residents of the area have been using the current site of Taber Memorial Gardens for burials as early as 1904, even though the survey of the land for use as a place of rest occurred in 1909. The area itself, Van Ham says, is comprised of 20 acres of level ground, with the cemetery having 7 acres in active use and embraces approximately 5000 burials.

“The cemetery holds a deserved and special place in the hearts of area residents and family members, near and far,” Van Ham said. “The importance of the sanctity and beauty of the space is important to give the area its very deserved respect.”

Further information related to the history can be found on the Town’s of Taber’s website under the ‘Services’ section: https://www.taber.ca/town-services/cemetery .

“Council and Administration are very supportive of enhancements and improvements in the cemetery that bring respect, dignity and peace to the area, as well as make it easier on visitors to find their loved ones,” Van Ham said. “This is a very special area of the Town, which bears respectful witness to those who passed before us and those whose dreams, diligence, and fortitude built the Town of Taber and surrounding areas.”

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