Perpetual Care, What is it?

Often the term Perpetual Care is heard during discussions regarding grounds keeping of cemeteries, but what does this term mean?

Perpetual Care can be defined as:

the never ending provision of what is necessary for the health, welfare, maintenance, and protection of someone or something

Organizations that own and operate cemeteries offer this service as a way to ease the worries and concerns of the deceased’s family and friends regarding the care of their loved one’s final resting place for future generations.

The following NPR Podcast does a great job of explaining the basics of Perpetual Care.

NPR, Planet Money Shorts. (2018, April 18th). How American Cemeteries promise to keep your grave forever Retrieved from

Perpetual Care of The Former Clarksburg IOOF Cemetery

In 2010 The Independent Order of Odd Fellows, after years of declining membership, revoked the charter to the Clarksburg WV Lodge. The remaining members than merged with the Morgantown Lodge. During this process the I.O.O.F. sold the Clarksburg Lodge assets. One of the assets was the cemetery on South Chestnut Street which had been owned, operated, and cared for by the Clarksburg Lodge since the mid 1860’s. The I.O.O.F. sold the cemetery and it’s perpetual care fund for a dollar.

On August 31st 2011, the Clarksburg Exponent Telegram ran “IOOF Cemetery owner: ‘I’m trying’” an article written by Jim Davis.

The article provided details on :

  • Conditions and circumstances regarding the transfer of ownership
  • Disposition of the Perpetual Care Fund
  • Contact information for the owner at that time

After reading this article in 2011, I reached out to the owner volunteering my assistance to help maintain the grounds of the Former Clarksburg IOOF Cemetery together with other concerned community members.

This initial community outreach was the foundation of the organization known today as the Historic Clarksburg WV Cemetery Preservation Alliance.

I hope this helps in explaining why the Historic Clarksburg WV Cemetery Preservation Alliance is continually raising funds for the care and restoration of the Former Clarksburg IOOF Cemetery.

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