published Sunday, March 24th, 2013

'Garden of Peace' offers healing: Walker County finishes memorial to crematorium victims

The Garden of Peace at Tennessee-Georgia Memorial Park was put up in memory of the people whose uncremated bodies were found at the Tri-State Crematory in Noble, Ga.
The Garden of Peace at Tennessee-Georgia Memorial Park was put up in memory of the people whose uncremated bodies were found at the Tri-State Crematory in Noble, Ga.
Photo by Tim Omarzu.

Walker County, Ga., was thrust into the international media spotlight 11 years ago when hundreds of uncremated bodies turned up at the Tri-State Crematory in the unincorporated community of Noble.

The county put the final touches recently on the "Garden of Peace," a monument, benches and flowering trees in a grassy spot at the Tennessee-Georgia Memorial Park Cemetery where many of the remains discovered at the crematorium were buried.

Walker County Sole Commissioner Bebe Heiskell hired the cemetery to finish the memorial, using $45,000 given for that purpose by the Georgia Assembly.

"They just decided, as a goodwill gesture, to provide this," Heiskell said of the legislators' funding.

The cemetery installed two stones flanking an arched centerpiece that was already there. One stone is inscribed with a poem, "The Healing Tree." The other has Ecclesiates 3:1-8, the well-known verses that begin, "To everything there is a season."

To match the existing stone centerpiece, the cemetery found a source of Salisbury pink granite in North Carolina, Heiskell said.

The Tennessee-Georgia Memorial Park Cemetery has 30 Salisbury pink granite 5- by 10-inch foot stones that can be inscribed with the names of those who were found at the crematorium and buried at the cemetery.

Cemetery manager and family services counselor Vanessa McKeehan said that those who'd like a foot stone for a loved one interred in the Garden of Peace should contact her.

"It has to be installed here [at the cemetery]," McKeehan said.

about Tim Omarzu...

Tim Omarzu covers Catoosa and Walker counties for the Times Free Press. Omarzu is a longtime journalist who has worked as a reporter and editor at daily and weekly newspapers in Michigan, Nevada and California. Stories he's covered include crime in blighted parts of metro Detroit and Reno, Nev.; environmental activists tree-sitting in California's Sierra Nevada foothills; attempts by the Michigan Militia to take over a township┬╣s government in northern Michigan. A native of Michigan, ...

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