New irrigation system is going well and Randy Williams has mastered the programming and is adjusting watering time to the summer heat. In June we had high winds take down some pretty large tree limbs and many small twigs that prevented the ability to water and mow throughout much of the cemetery and grounds. We asked for volunteer help from our friends of Ryssby who generally help with the cleanup day. Randy had collected the large branches into an open area and then the large branches were cut with a chainsaw to be easily handled and hauled away. We had several people volunteer to rake about 75% of the property for the twigs and small branches and collected into piles. We were able to complete the cleanup in about a week so we could continue to water, mow and have events.
This year we decided to leave the parking lot and restrooms unlocked for visitor use, which gives a welcoming appeal. We have heard thanks from many visitors that appreciate this so they do not park along north 63rd that is busy, and appreciate the restroom access if needed during their cemetery visits.
Randy Williams put much hard work into the restoration of an old stone entrance at the large gate directly west of the church. We are not sure when this was originally created but believe it was part of the original entrance when the building was built. In conversation with many who have been involved with Ryssby for years, they were not aware that this stone entrance was even under the sand, dirt, and grass that covered it. We believe it adds to the character of this Historic building, and beauty to the property.
Over the past couple years, we observed many visitors and people attending burial services using the caretaker entrance (next to the shed in the south fence) as a preferred route to the cemetery from the parking lot. Many elderly people chose this short route over the irrigation concrete flume only covered with just 2×8 boards and not a hand railing instead of using the main bridge entrance. In June the committee approved a new bridge with a gated entrance for safe access to cemetery as a secondary entrance. While this bridge is not the primary access for events, it was necessary for visitors using it from the parking lot.
This entrance is regularly used by the Caretaker and Sexton for access on a regular basis too, and we felt that it was unsafe for transporting equipment and wheelbarrowing across the irrigation ditch. We felt a bridge for safe access should add beautification to the property. We worked with Rusty Brockmann on the design to look similar to the main bridge. We then approved Rusty to build and install the new bridge and gated entrance, which he was able to complete by early July. We added some flagstone on both sides of the bridge, and will be adding more soil from the flagstone to create a nice walking grade to the parking lot and cemetery.
Randy Williams and Herb Hergott created job descriptions for the Caretaker and Sexton positions for Ryssby operations. These were then approved by the committee. These two positions have been done by Randy Williams as a volunteer the past 2 years, and previously done by Bill Bohn.
The Caretaker position maintains the maintenance of the property and buildings, and is responsible for the irrigation system and monitors weekly watering and changes as needed seasonally. The caretaker works closely with a contracted company for mowing, fertilization, and weed control from spring through fall months. He handles the seeding of grass and/or sod when necessary throughout the property. The caretaker regularly monitors the compliance to the rules and regulations of cemetery by family and visitors and works through compliance issues as needed. We hope to fill the Caretaker position this fall with a new employee and are working through the employee process of First Lutheran to complete this hire. We plan to share details through the First Lutheran website and weekly communication bulletins for links to the job description and wage information. (If you are interested in this position you can text 303-588-2856 or email HLHusker5@gmail.com)
The Sexton position is responsible for the contractual agreements for the cemetery and columbarium. He is required to accurately mark for the digging of graves, schedule the
contractor for grave excavation, and be present for vault placement and the burial process. For the columbarium he coordinates the order of the Niche and name plates, and is present at the cemetery for the placement of the Urn in the columbarium and handles mounting of the name plate. Randy Williams will continue in this position, and we are working through the employee process of First Lutheran.
This spring Rhonda Hovendick (our Event Coordinator the past four years as a volunteer) decided it would be a good time to resign. The committee gives thanks to Rhonda for all her time and work in this position. She received the phone calls and emails with many people regarding weddings, memorials, and worship events. Peggy Shupe has stepped up to be the Event Coordinator to help us get through this time of Covid-19 into 2021. She has coordinated small weddings and memorials within the Covid-19 guidelines at Ryssby this year, and is receiving interest for 2021. Peggy has provided good input on how we can make information available on the website, and share with the community for those interested. We have improved the website with updates by adding an Event Venue Tab. Which gives information for wedding planning, pricing, photos, testimonials, with a link to Event Calendar for availability. Peggy and the committee will review and update the job description of the Event Coordinator for Ryssby, and plan to fill the Event Coordinator position sometime in 2021.
We are in the process of adding a Historical tab to the Ryssby website to share video’s and documentary’s related to the Ryssby history. The historical video that was started a couple years ago with Channel-8 and Longmont senior center volunteers (Glenn Sherwood, Barb Hau, and others) was completed this summer. This video has interviews of Bill Bohn, Dick Vonbernuth, and Dick Swanson who were involved with Ryssby care and leadership for many years. You can use this link or access from the website. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eM2hrvgo6h8 Peggy Shupe has been working on a detailed written documentary of Ryssby history and creating a video for her documentary. We hope to share them later this year through the website.
With Covid-19 guidelines and fellowship restrictions for large groups we were not able to have the First Lutheran mid-summer picnic in June this year. We feel the candlelight services scheduled for the second weekend of December will not be held because of expected Covid-19 guidelines. We will have further discussion about candlelight services with the Pastors and Church Council of First Lutheran but are not optimistic. We are looking to create a Ryssby Candlelight virtual service that everyone can enjoy online. When the church plans this service, you should receive details for any opportunity to participate through the normal First Lutheran church communications. (Readers, Virtual Choirs, Pastors, Etc.)
Ryssby Committee Chairman