Kelowna man step ups to take care of old Winfield cemetery

Bringing life to a cemetery

An Okanagan cremationist took it upon himself to look after a cemetery after he noticed it was in rough shape.

Larry Crawford has been hard at work at the old Winfield cemetery on Newene Road recently, after the Lake Country municipality stopped performing regular maintenance. Following his eight-hour shifts at the Lakeview Crematorium, and on weekends, Crawford says he puts in roughly 3-4 hours a day trying to bring the cemetery back to life.

“I’ll trim all the grass because a lot of it is overgrown. Then, I scrub them with a wire brush, to get the organic and the moss off of the graves, followed by a wire brush on a drill to see if I can get more colour out of it. Then, I scrub the headstones with a wire brush, and a chopstick, because it happens to fit perfectly in the letters, and wash it all off after,” Crawford told Castanet during at interview at the nearby Lakeview Memorial Cemetery.

Crawford tells Castanet the old cemetery looked like it had been forgotten when he first noticed it.

“It's in disarray. I took it upon myself to make it look a little nicer because it's getting really overgrown, and I don't believe people should be forgotten about. I believe people deserve dignity and respect, when they’re alive and when they’re dead."

Crawford has been doing this out of the kindness of his heart for the last two months. He said he does it as a way to honour those who have passed, and thank his family members who have passed on as well.

“Most of my family is gone now, so this is my way of thanking my family for instilling a work ethic in me, and having the 5 “D’s” of life. The 5 D’s I teach my daughters are drive, dedication, discipline, determination and desire,” explained Crawford. “If you live by those 5 D’s of life, I think you’re going to do pretty good.”

Crawford’s coworker Jeffrey Moraes describes what kind of person Crawford is.

“Indescribable, just the salt of the earth you know? Very genuine, caring, sensitive, funny, committed, family man and just everything. Everything you’d wanna be, that's our Larry,” said Moraes.

The 11-year cremationist doesn’t like to ask for help, but he’ll gladly accept a helping hand if it's offered.

“People’s time would be greatly appreciated,” said Crawford. If you’d like to help revamp Winfield’s cemetery, or simply stop by to say hello, you can reach Crawford at [email protected]

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