Donated funds will go to a building with water, electric at Cedar Hill Cemetery, Greencastle

Shawn Hardy
Echo Pilot

A new maintenance building with water, electric and a concrete floor should be under-roof at Cedar Hill Cemetery this fall thanks to a $200,000 donation from the Paul and Anna Shockey Family Foundation.

Replacing the existing building constructed in the 1960s was one of the long-term capital projects identified when the board of managers of the cemetery, located just west of Greencastle, put out an appeal for funds late in 2020.

"As we enter our 151st year, the board is currently looking strategically at short- and long-term options to keep Cedar Hill Cemetery an attractive landmark and a viable organization in the Greencastle-Antrim community for years to come," Jeff Shank, president of the board of managers, said at the time.

While the cemetery is still on solid ground financially, revenues are declining as more people choose cremation over traditional burial, and maintenance costs are rising.

Donations were presented to Cedar Hill Cemetery on Sept. 23. From left, front — Kermit Hicks of the Kermit and Clarisse (Kitsie) Hicks Foundation; and Bonnie and Ken Shockey of the Paul and Anna Shockey Family Foundation. Center — Troy Shew, cemetery board of managers treasurer; Kelly Fromuth, executive director of the PAA Foundation; and Jeff Shank, president of the cemetery board. Back: Les Edward, cemetery board member; and Dave Woodring, cemetery caretaker.

The Shockeys' son, Ken, and his wife, Bonnie, made the presentation to cemetery representatives on Sept. 23.

Kermit Hicks was on hand, too, to present a $250 donation from the Kermit and Clarisse (Kitsie) Hicks Foundation, which also looks to help meet needs in the Greencastle area.

Both Ken Shockey and Kermit Hicks are former board members of the PAA Foundation, which helps manage their respective foundations.

At the cemetery

Ken Shockey, who read about the cemetery appeal in the Echo Pilot, said, "We saw that their needs seemed to be more than normal and started to figure out how to help."

The existing building is located in the older part of the cemetery on the south side of Route 16. In addition to a dirt floor, it does not have water or electric and is short on storage space.

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The new building will be in the newer section of the cemetery north of Route 16, where the utilities are located. It will be used for cemetery operations and equipment storage.

The donation will "pretty much cover the building," Shank said, adding it is "not fancy."

The board will not have to dip into its investment fund, which it has has to pull from in the past, according to Troy Shew, treasurer.

This newspaper clipping about the 5,000th burial at Cedar Hill Cemetery is from the 1950s. About 10,000 are buried there now.

"The cemetery will be here long after we're gone. This is a savior for us," said Shank.

The Shockey Foundation donation is for "an immediate need," Bonnie Shockey said, as the couple encouraged others to donate to the cemetery.

'The son of Anonymous'

Inspiring others to be generous in the community has been a theme since Ken and Bonnie Shockey started making donations from the foundation public.

Paul Shockey, a co-founder of JLG Industries, and Anna Shockey, a homemaker and registered nurse, donated anonymously.

The High Line Train Station is one of the Greencastle organizations that has been supported by the Paul and Anna Shockey Family Foundation, which recently gave $200,000 to Cedar Hill Cemetery.

"Since taking over the family foundation, Ken and Bonnie have been honoring their memory by going public with donations. Ken has referred to himself as 'the son of Anonymous,'" says a PAA news release.

Their donation to the cemetery is above its normal fundraising and is limited in use, Ken Shockey noted, as he encouraged people to continue to give.

"Every little bit helps," he said.

"We are so thankful for their benevolence," said Jeff Shank, president of the cemetery board. "They've given to a lot of good causes, and we're grateful to be one of them."

Greencastle organizations that have received funds from the foundation include the school district, WellSpan Health, Besore Library, Ebbert Spring archaeological site, WRGG, Allison-Antrim Museum, Greencastle-Antrim Food Pantry and the High Line Train Station. The foundation also covers expenses the Greencastle-Antrim School District incurs related to Old Home Week events, including the pageant and community worship.

The Shockey Foundation also is matching donations up to $25,000 toward Greencastle-Antrim Education Foundation grants in a campaign GAEF announced in August.

Details

Cedar Hill is a perpetual care cemetery, which means graves are tended forever. In addition to ongoing maintenance, other expenses include road repairs, equipment and development of future burial area.

John and Elizabeth Rowe gave the Cedar Hill Cemetery Association the original deed for 31 acres just west of Greencastle in 1870. Additional land on the north side of what is now Route 16 was purchased in 1928. An estimated 10,000 people, including Paul and Anna Shockey, have been buried there in the last 151 years.

Contributions can be mailed to Cedar Hill Cemetery, P.O. Box 351, Greencastle, PA 17225. The cemetery is a 501c(13) non-profit organization, and donations are tax deductible.

Shawn Hardy is a reporter with Gannett's Franklin County newspapers in south-central Pennsylvania — the Echo Pilot in Greencastle, The Record Herald in Waynesboro and the Public Opinion in Chambersburg. She has more than 35 years of journalism experience. Reach her at shardy@gannett.com