BERKELEY, MO (KTVI)- The generosity of strangers brings a little boy's remains to a final resting place. Years of neglect and vandals exposed the remains in an overgrown area of the Washington Park Cemetery. But Friday, he was given the respect he deserved.
Once opened, the crypt contained a picture of Adolphus Lewis, the boy whose family laid him to rest in 1922. The picture was attached to a once beautiful monument. But back then grieving relatives could not have anticipated the horrible condition of the crypt and the cemetery 90 years later.
Kevin Bailey, the latest owner of the cemetery, came under fire for that. Bailey responded by asking for help to re-inter the child. Generous strangers made that happen.
Bailey says, “This is more than just a burial. It’s a beginning of something good. “
Calvin Whitaker of St. Louis Livery Service got the ball rolling after Kevin called him.
“I knew about this cemetery but once I came out here for this child it was in my heart that something needed to be done.”
The vault, heavy equipment, and labor are donations from Bruns Vault Company. The crews very carefully took the child’s remains from the crumbling crypt and placed them in a brand new vault. Workers hoist it and respectfully move the remains to another part of the cemetery for burial. C
Calvin says the location has significance.
“We wanted him to be a beacon for the cemetery. Since he’s the one that drew so much attention to this cemetery we thought he should be in the front. That way people can come, make sure the grass is clear around here. “
Kevin is pleased. “I’m overwhelmed, overwhelmed in a good way. It’s a sense of accomplishment.”
Bailey has been cited by the city of Berkeley for the overgrowth. And he'll have to address warrants issued for failure to appear in court on those violations. He says he will because he wants to make a difference.
“I just believe it`s part of my destiny to get this place back up," says Bailey.
Kevin Bailey bought the cemetery for two dollars. It had suffered years of neglect under previous owners. That upset him during visits to his father's grave. He wanted to change things. It’s a huge task. So Kevin and Calvin are inviting volunteers to join them Saturday for a day long clean up. People are asked to bring mowers and saws, food and water. They'll be there between 8am and 4pm. For information contact Kevin Bailey at 314 (314) 322-1067.