Letter: Taos native pleads for headstone’s return


On a visit this spring we (my wife, my daughter and grandchildren) traveled to Taos, my birthplace, to visit the Sierra Vista Cemetery just south of town where my grandparents, the Conrads, as well as other aunts, uncles, and cousins are buried. My great grandfather Edgar A. Conrad is also buried there (or was?) in a plot on the east side about 3 feet from the fence that separates the Catholic cemetery. His grave was also located just to the rear of my aunt, Edna M. Kennon. But lo’ and behold, his headstone as well as the concrete perimeter around his plot was gone, and in place thereof is a temporary – I assume from the appearance –  wooden cross with the name of a woman who is now buried next to her husband.

I called the Sierra Vista Cemetery manager but he pleaded no knowledge of the burial event. As my frustration grew he threatened to hang up on me – and he did. I had asked him who was in charge of burial arrangements and he said he was but they only had to own the plot. I then (very frustrated now) told him that my grandfather had purchased the plot for his father, my great grandfather, and there was now someone else buried there. His response was “they probably didn’t dig up his remains.” So I asked him where the headstone went? His response was “he didn’t have the slightest idea.”

Now, maybe you can understand my frustration. I realize that it probably doesn’t make any difference to the folks who removed his headstone and perimeter concrete, but it makes a difference to me and my family.

We go up every year and put flowers on my grandparents’ graves and visit the others to make sure they’re not in disrepair and do what we can to pull weeds and clean the grave sites. The cemetery, in general, is in less than good condition. I suspect that when I’m gone (I’m now 77) it won’t be long thereafter when there will be no one to attend the graves. But, all I ask is that my great grandfather’s headstone be replaced by the family that removed it, or had it removed, and that I receive a letter of apology from them. After all, my family owns the plot. Too much to ask?

Sincerely yours,

– KG Fellers, Taos visitor