Gardiner: Will voters approve cemetery district

GARDINER — In a Monty Python skit set in medieval times, a man pulling a wagon piled with plague victims goes door to door calling, “Bring Out Your Dead.”

Another person leads out an elderly relative, who protests that he is still alive but is pushed into the cart anyway.

Voters in Gardiner may not be ready to go just yet, but proponents of a local cemetery district hope that they will step lively on election day.

“We don’t care how you vote, just get out and vote,” Bob Minty says.

Minty, along with three other Gardiner residents, is running for a seat on the board of a proposed Gardiner cemetery district.

If the proposal passes, three elected commissioners will assume responsibility for the rural graveyard where generations of local families are buried — including their own.

“I am one of the frontier families,” Bill Campbell says. “My kids want to stay here, and will be there, too. I want to make sure there’s a well-maintained place to be.”

A construction excavator, Campbell, 42, is the grandson of Wallace and Florence Norton, who settled in Gardiner in the late 1940s.

They built the old Gardiner store, now Wild Birds Unlimited, and had a store on the old highway before the “new” highway — U.S. 101 — was built, Campbell says.

“My grandparents are in the cemetery, and my mom and my aunt,” Campbell says. “I guess you say I have a vested interest.”

Diane Martin, who is running unopposed for position 2, is also of old stock.

Martin, 54, is the granddaughter of Leon and Louise Movius, who settled in Gardiner in the 1920s.

They are buried in Gardiner Cemetery, along with Martin’s parents, William and Florence Movius.

Martin says she lived in Gardiner until she was 4 years old, returning to spend holidays and summers with her grandmother after the family moved to Tacoma.

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