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

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

March 24th, 2013 by Tim Omarzu in Local Regional News

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 /Times Free Press.

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.