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River Valley Cemetery

 
Viewed by Patrick Hays patrick@migrations.org
Copied: June 1, 2002 (what better way to spend a day kicked out of the house because of a
baby shower!)

U of L burial ground and upkeep my Metro Parks

River Valley Cemetery on Cane Run Road after Lower Hunters Trace in front of LG&E.

"Dedicated to those buried here who have given their bodies to the University of Louisville
School of Medicine in the interests of medical science and and better health care for future
generations."

Earliest noticed burial was in 1988.  There are few stones but many funeral markers and also
several wooden and painted markers.  Includes a children's area which is separated from the
rest.  Also a memorial to the U of L donors.  There are 21 rows so far of approximately 50
graves each. 

Needs to be copied in its entirety quickly and repeatedly to be of any use to future
genealogists.  Many funeral markers are faded beyond visibility or are buried already.

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Doug Weaver/WHAS11 photojournalist

The following disturbing article was excerpted from the Courier-Journal 19 May 2004 by Jay Ditzer regarding this cemetery.

                                               

"I wouldn't plant my dog in a place like this"

12:27 PM EDT on Wednesday, May 19, 2004

 When Kristie Ammons’s father died unexpectedly, the River Valley Cemetery on Louisville’s far southern end was the only place she could afford to bury him.

 “I wouldn't plant my dog in a place like this, let alone my father. This is not a place you can rest in peace,” she says.

 Water in recent days has pooled so high that in some areas that grave markers are now floating.

 

 “No one would pick this, no one would choose this.” Ammons had no choice. Plots, as well as burial services here, are free. The cemetery is maintained by Metro Parks for the poor and impoverished.

 “Had I been in my right state of mind I would have said, ‘Stop this. This is not happening, put him back in the van. And, we are going to put him someplace until we can figure out what to do to put him in a decent resting place,’” Ammons says.

 The young, the old, war veterans and people who gave up their bodies to the University of Louisville for scientific research are buried here.

 “Speechless. It’s just unreal,” says Tee Aiken, who lives near the cemetery. It’s his first visit. He came out of curiosity.

 “This is disgraceful, it really is. If I had a loved one buried here, I would be fighting City Hall or somebody,” he says.

 Metro Parks says with a miniscule budget for upkeep, it does the best it can.

 “We do a fairly good job with day to day maintenance,” says Jason Cissell of Metro Parks. “There are acts of nature like heavy downpours of rain that will have impacts for short periods of time.”

 Ammons says she's appreciative for the park’s help. Her father Gary Hess's battle with cancer left the family ill-prepared late last December to pay for a funeral.

 Ammons has been here three times and she says with each visit, the scenery gets more depressing. LG&E’s Cane Run Road plant and its mountain of ground waste overshadow River Valley.

 “Every time I see smokestacks, bulldozers and puddles and trains, that is what I am thinking of: my dad. And I can't imagine he's resting in peace or I am not resting in peace. The family is not,” she says.

 Web story produced by Jay Ditzer. 

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