Someone You Should Know: Taking care of the St. Mary’s Cemetery
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Raymond Schmidt spends a lot time on a mower.
“In the spring of 1999, I started my mowing business. In the year 2000, I got the mowing job out here at St. Mary’s Cemetery,” said Raymond.
For more than two decades, the 65-year old, who grew up near Dell Rapids, has made this final resting place, look nice.
“My sister helps me out a lot too. And we take a lot of pride in this. We love having it look great. I just love it all I guess. I grew up on a farm, and I did farm for quite a few years,” said Raymond.
“His job isn’t just Monday thru Friday 9 to 5. He’s here all the time. He comes on the weekend if it’s going to rain or storms are moving in. He’s here to get ahead of it. He just does a nice job. Sometimes on a Saturday night towards dusk, we drive by, and here’s Raymond up here mowing,” said Dell Rapids native Joni Hauglid.
“We put in a lot of time. Especially before Memorial Day that week. I have three other cemeteries that are smaller than this, and we fight the weather. But this one we mow two times before Memorial Day, on the Sunday before. Maybe the Monday, and the then the following Thursday and Friday so it looks fantastic,” said Raymond.
Raymond also weed wacks around every single stone.
“About four, maybe five times a year. I weed eat low and wide so it’s easier to mow the next time. And then I don’t have to do it so often. And then I get a lot of compliments because the people are saying we can really see their tombstones, and the decorations nice,” said Raymond.
He’s also the unofficial cemetery tour guide.
“Sometimes people come out here and they’re walking around and they look like they are lost. And I’ll stop and ask them ‘are you looking for a certain family member or something’ and if I can help you. And I’ll go tell em because I know a lot of stones or can get you real close in that area. It is very personal because there’s mom and dad. And up by our Schmidt section, aunts and uncles, grandpa and grandma, and then my mom was a Schwebach. Over by the Schwebach side, there’s grandpa and grandma, aunts and uncles, and cousins, and cousins by the Schmidt’s too. And a lot of family, and a lot of friends, and all that too,” said Raymond.
His family planted these pine trees in 2006, to honor his mom with some of her memorial money. The St. Mary’s Cemetery, is a labor of love for Raymond.
“And it means a lot to the Dell Rapids community that come to visit their loved ones here, to have such a beautiful place to look at,” said Joni.
“It is a very rewarding job. It’s a good job. I love it,” said Raymond.
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