Authorized Struggle Over, Minnesota Man Creates 1-Cease Cemetery Store | Minnesota Information


By BOB SHAW, St. Paul Pioneer Press

LAKE ELMO, Minn. (AP) — After a protracted authorized combat with town of Lake Elmo, Lee Rossow is opening his cemetery. Alongside the best way he went to the state Supreme Court docket and survived the deaths of his spouse and oldsters.

As Rossow just lately gave a tour of the cemetery, he mirrored on the journey he made to open the place. The 14-year wrestle, he mentioned, gave him an understanding of what individuals want throughout occasions of grief.

“I imagine it will assist individuals via the worst days of their lives,” mentioned Rossow, 75. His new nonprofit – Halcyon Cemetery – opened final month in Lake Elmo, a 10-acre facility as quirky in some ways as its proprietor.

He by no means considered beginning a cemetery till his father died in 2008, and his mother in 2011. He repeatedly trudged via the method of establishing the lengthy, costly and unsatisfying funerals, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reported.

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“I felt in any case these deaths that there needed to be a greater method,” mentioned Rossow. However he was busy, because the founder and CEO of Centerline Constitution Corp., which offers buses to space colleges.

The dying of spouse Geni in 2014 cemented his resolve to construct a greater solution to grieve.

“Geni’s dying was like a boot in my ass,” he mentioned. “It was, “Let’s get going!”’

He received the thought of turning his mother and father’ 1985 home right into a funeral dwelling. They’d each died in that home, and he wished to show all the web site right into a cemetery that will protect their reminiscence.

His dream hit a roadblock at metropolis corridor.

The cemetery was allowed by metropolis zoning, and it was authorized by the Planning Fee. However the Metropolis Council rejected it, citing objections from neighbors.

Rossow sued town, which prevailed in district court docket. He then appealed, and received the case in appellate court docket. The town took the case to the Minnesota Supreme Court docket in 2018 — and misplaced when the excessive court docket refused to listen to it. Then Rossow set to work.

“I’ve been instructed I’m ‘U-nee-que’ within the business,” mentioned Rossow, saying “distinctive” to make it sound humorous.

As he rebuilt the construction, he wished to protect as a lot of the unique home as attainable, which is why the unique hearth is the centerpiece of constructing. Right now, his mother and father peer down from a portrait on the mantle, his mom perched on a piano.

Rossow created a “U-nee-que” entry monument within the car parking zone — the caskets of his mother and father, facet by facet.

Preserving his personal sad funerals in thoughts, he designed a form of one-stop store for grieving households.

He wished to host each facet of the funeral — the non secular service, the burial and the after-party — in a single place.

He constructed a spacious assembly room for the companies. A 180-foot shelf traces the room, the long run dwelling of mementos and photographs of each liked one within the cemetery.

Why does all of the artwork have a nautical theme?

“This was what I had in my home,” defined Rossow.

Exterior, he has already dug holes for 60 concrete vaults, and buried them underneath about two ft of soil. That may permit him to scrape the grime, put one or two caskets in every vault, re-bury it and substitute the sod — all in at some point.

Behind the transformed home sits a mausoleum, like an enormous chest with drawers for the ashes of 64 family members. Every may be engraved with a photograph, such because the picture of Rossow’s boat, subsequent to the drawer for his spouse’s stays.

Subsequent to it’s a spherical columbarium with 144 smaller drawers. A novel function is within the heart — an open spot the place he’ll place put cremains in canvas pouches. This can be an inexpensive various to burials, he mentioned.

Then, a couple of steps away, he confirmed a good cheaper choice. In a single nook of the cemetery he has buried the ashes of 97 individuals who died penniless — stays acquired from Metro First Name, a Savage-based enterprise that gives companies for the native funeral business.

For these stays, Rossow dug a two-foot-wide, six-foot-deep gap and positioned the ashes in it. It was lined with soil, then marked with a numbered concrete stone.

In his workplace, Rossow will maintain information of the names of individuals underneath every stone, however there can be no report of names on the gravesite. The world is marked by a black stone with the inscription: “We proudly settle for the stays of those that died with nothing.”

Under the inscription is a quantity — 337 — which repeatedly seems elsewhere across the cemetery.

Is it a Biblical verse? A mystical signal?

No, Lee Rossow explains. It’s one other “U-nee-que” contact — his identify, the wrong way up and backwards, which he stamped on his creation the best way an artist indicators a completed portray.

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