Do you own Hillcrest Cemetery? No. The cemetery belongs to the estate of it's late owner. She was aware of our long-term involvement and commitment to Hillcrest. Hillcrest is an abandoned cemetery, as defined by the State of Georgia.
Where is your office? We do not have a business office. All business operations of the association are handled in home offices of the board members or at meetings. For driving directions or a mailing address, please see this page.
Can you tell me where a grave is located? We will try to help when we can, but occasionally have a backlog of research requests. That is why we have created this site which will, when completed, have all the information needed to locate most graves at Hillcrest on your own. However, if you learn about us while visiting from out of town or if you have an urgent need such as a possible/pending burial on a family lot, please contact us.
Doesn't the City/County/State have a responsibility to maintain the cemetery? No. State law does not require any government intervention with abandoned cemeteries. They are specifically allowed to assist with their upkeep and preservation, but are not required to do so.
We own a lot. Can we still use it? Yes. The closing of the cemetery company did not affect your rights as a deed-holder for your lots. The only real differences are that all services normally provided by a cemetery (grave opening, closing, etc.) are now handled by your funeral home, and that certain pre-paid services such as second-spouse date of death engraving may not be available through your prior arrangements. We do request that you or your funeral home contact us prior to any services or installations, simply for the sake of record-keeping and sharing of information. Also, please note that active cemeteries often provide after care such as funeral flower removal, ground leveling and sod placement. We can not provide these services and encourage you to work with your funeral home to make arrangements for this.
What can I do with burial spaces we no longer plan to use? If you want to sell a lot you own, you can sell it to any interested buyer. Because this is a legal property transaction, we are not able to help with this process. Please be aware that for sale ads in the paper and online often attract scam artist these days. We recommend finding a buyer through personal contacts, religious organizations and possibly funeral homes. Lots have occasionally been donated to our organization, after which we have facilitated the transfer of these lots to others for making donations to our maintenance fund, but we can not purchase or formally sell lots. The board estimates the value of a space in the main sections (1-9 and Circle) at $500 per space and in the bronze section (Section M) at $400 per space. For more information, please contact us so that we may go over the special requirements for such transactions, including the need for proof of ownership.
Can I buy a lot at Hillcrest? While the cemetery was essentially sold out when business operations ceased in the 1990's, some families have donated lots to us so that we can facilitate transferring them to donors who cover some of our maintenance expenses. From time-to-time some of these may be available. Values have been estimated by the board between $400 and $500 per space, based on location.
Isn't Hillcrest a perpetual care cemetery? Unfortunately, no. Many families thought it was, but no perpetual care fund was established, nor have we ever found any written information indicating that it was promised. Regardless, there is no fund today, as the cemetery was always maintained using current income. When that funding source began to dry up, the cemetery became overgrown, and our organization was created by the community to take over (without any income from the operation of Hillcrest as a business.)
Is Hillcrest safe to visit? In our 20 years of involvement we have never had an attempted crime against persons at Hillcrest Cemetery. Of course, as with any public place, we recommend reasonable care and alertness when visiting. Some have expressed concern about the apartments across the street—they are gone and have been replaced with a nice new active seniors community. (Some of the residents even volunteer with us!)
Can someone meet me at the cemetery? While we have volunteers nearby who keep an eye on the cemetery, none of them have the knowledge to help locate graves, and they are not usually available to schedule to be there at a specific time. We hope to start having more volunteer events, at which time we will have people there to help with locating graves or talking about issues. The primary contact for Hillcrest lives 90 minutes away at this time, but we will help by text, email, Facebook Messenger or phone (must leave a voicemail for prompt callback) before or during your visit when able. See the Contact Us page for details.
When is your next volunteer event? Please visit our Facebook page for possible event listings.
What can I do to help on my own time? There are a few things individuals and families can do to help us out when we are not having formal volunteer cleanups. First, if you see anything that looks like a new problem, please let us know about it. (Known issues are often posted on our Facebook page.) Second, we do not have trash service at Hillcrest, so if you have old flowers to discard, please take them with you for disposal with normal refuse. If you find flowers or trash others have left by the roadside and have the ability to do so, hauling this away is always helpful. We have a mowing company that handles cutting and trimming, but any time fallen limbs or litter are removed for them helps keep costs down for us. Additionally, we plan to start doing transcriptions of the markers at Hillcrest soon. Volunteers will be given an area and a PDF of the information we already have for that area, and can fill in any blanks, take photos, add missing graves or note corrections that are needed. We need to develop a process for this, but if interested, please let us know. And of course, donations to our mowing or for special projects are always welcome.
Can I get credit for court-ordered community service by volunteering at Hillcrest? When our volunteer coordinator lived nearby, we had great success working with community service assignees. However, we do not have this resource at this time except during occasional community volunteer days posted on our Facebook page.
Is there anything visitors should not do? Please do not leave trash (including discarded flowers) at Hillcrest, as we do not have sanitation service. Please do not try to repair any damaged memorial markers without authorization from the family. We do not recommend the use of any chemicals such as herbicides, pesticides or cleaning chemicals. Many of these can damage memorial stones over time. There are very specific care guidelines for cleaning headstones. Here is one such resource.
Can I still donate to or have a brick added to the Hillcrest Veterans Memorial Wall? At this time, the wall is considered complete and we do not have current plans for an expansion.
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