As Lake View's construction foreman, Don Washington Jr. has been digging graves, maintaining the cemetery, and setting monuments and headstones for nearly a dozen years. He's dealt with all types of soil and weather conditions including shattering a backhoe bucket while attempting to dig into frozen ground during this year's cold snaps.
A lot of people cringe when you tell them you work at a cemetery. Usually I tell them, "It's not what you think." Most people look at Lake View as a park rather than a cemetery. I've seen people come to sit out and have a picnic. We've had people lay out and suntan, and we have our share of joggers, people taking photographs or painting pictures.
Some of the older sections are all sand. It's a couple inches under the soil, and it's almost like you are digging in the beach. Some of the new areas, like section 32, just about a foot or so down, we hit solid sandstone. It's as if you are sitting on a sandstone cliff up there.
The hardest ones for me personally are when we have to bury someone who's younger or even children. I've got two younger daughters, and there's been times that families have lost babies at birth or even toddlers. You feel for them. We let the guys know that this one might be rough for the family. We pay extra attention to detail and try to make it as perfect as possible for them. They've got their minds on quite a bit. We don't want them coming here and worrying about anything else. — as told to Jason Brill