Many parishioners have never visited one of St. Francis Borgia’s most beautiful sites – the SFB Parish Cemetery, located approximately four miles south of the North Church, and one-quarter mile west of the intersection of Pioneer Road and Wauwatosa Road. The cemetery is the final resting place for deceased parishioners, including a number who passed away more than 150 years ago.
Our parish cemetery is managed day-to-day by Brian Willbrandt, Cemetery Coordinator and parishioner. Brian and the volunteer SFB Cemetery Committee, comprised of Parish Trustee Jack Steinbrecker, Mike Schramka, Vic DiCristo and Bill Malone, have the primary responsibilities of maintaining the cemetery, while providing a dignified, environmentally site-sensitive burial site and infrastructure to support activities which honor and respect all of those buried in our cemetery.
The committee monitors activities and the upkeep of the SFB Cemetery grounds, not only on the day of Internment, but also for ongoing grounds maintenance. Behind the scenes, cemetery management also entails capacity/expansion planning, pricing and selling burial plots and columbarium niches, filing and maintaining public records, reviewing operating results and budgeting. The cemetery has a Perpetual Care Fund, managed by the parish’s Investment Committee, the earnings on which will augment proceeds from ongoing plot and niche sales that will fund ongoing cemetery operating and maintenance costs into perpetuity.
This past year was a busy one for the Cemetery Committee. In July, ground penetrating radar (GPR) was utilized in the oldest sections of the cemetery to ensure that all grave sites were properly recorded and mapped in cemetery records.
This review identified certain old graves not in cemetery records, as well as headstones and monuments that have sunken below ground level. Some of the unmarked graves are those of babies from poor Milwaukee-area families buried in the 1960s, at the request of former SFB pastor Fr. Leo Zingsheim. This fall, you’ll hear more about the committee’s intentions to raise funds to provide grave markers and a monument for this section of the cemetery.
The committee is also working on upgrading the signage at the entrances of the cemetery, as well as designing and printing new brochures. The committee’s other major accomplishment this year was reviewing and replacing maintenance personnel and the sexton, with the goal of providing better grounds keeping and burial services. Feedback to date has been excellent.
Future projects include improved weed control, and application of new fill and top-soil to complete landscaping in the cemetery’s southeast corner. Additionally, the headstones and monuments below ground level that were located in July will be reset.
We are appreciative of the efforts of Cemetery Coordinator Brian Willbrandt and the entire Cemetery Committee. If you have interest in joining this committee, please contact Brian or contact the parish office and leave a message for him.
Burial plots and niches in the cemetery are available for sale. For further information, please contact Brian Willbrandt as indicated above.