Marshfield Cemetery An Important City Service
Responsible for managing the City’s Hillside Cemetery, the Cemetery Department is a faction of the Parks & Recreation Department that is often overlooked.
Located on St Joseph Avenue across from Marshfield Medical Center, the mission of Hillside Cemetery is to assist with interments, provide care and maintenance of the grounds and equipment, maintain accurate records, and serve as a resource for individuals seeking locations of burial sites of loved ones.
“We’re basically responsible for everything up here,” said Mike Baltus, Cemetery Coordinator. “We take care of everything from turning on the lights to doing the burials.”
Two full time and two seasonal employees are responsible for the work at the cemetery. Maintenance work includes mowing lawns and removing snow, leveling grave sites, re-sodding and re-seeding grass as needed, pruning trees and shrubs, and maintaining machinery. Staff are also responsible for digging grave sites when requested and authorized, and leveling the sites post-burial.
Through a contract with both Gate of Heaven Cemetery and Immanuel Lutheran Cemetery, the City’s Cemetery Department is responsible for maintaining all 58 acres of the three cemeteries. Currently, the City of Marshfield has 28 acres, consisting of 16 sections and 11,036 burial spaces. Gate of Heaven has 25 acres and 17 sections. Immanuel Lutheran has 5 acres consisting of 4 sections.
Baltus also is in charge of maintaining cemetery records, including keeping an accurate list of sites sold, recording interments, and showing and selling sites to prospective buyers.
Though not something most people want to think about, the latter is something Baltus says is very important.
“If people need a site, they’ll call my office,” said Baltus. “One of my big sales pitches is: I don’t care which cemetery you choose, but those decisions are better made when everyone is on the green side of the grass. It’s just so much easier on the survivor, whether choosing a space or a monument.”
Baltus works with funeral homes and monument companies as needed, and serves as a resource for families seeking assistance.
“Our job is caring,” said Baltus. “Caring for the buildings, equipment, grounds; caring for the people who have to use our services.”
As a City department, the Cemetery also strives to narrow the gap between operating revenues and expenditures to minimize the property tax subsidy for operations.
“The City of Marshfield is going to be here forever and a cemetery is the only place in the world that you talk ‘forever’,” he said. “Somebody’s going to cut the grass forever, blow the snow forever. That’s probably the biggest benefit of a municipal-owned cemetery.”
Ten acres of property to the west of the cemetery are currently undeveloped, and Baltus estimates it will be another decade before those need to be prepared. Once completed, those ten acres is expected to provide the community with more than 100 years of burials.
Cemetery office hours are 7:30am-4:00pm weekdays. Anyone is welcome to visit the cemetery itself during daylight hours. Click here for Interactive Cemetery Viewer.