Each year, family members, former residents of the Belchertown State School, staff and friends gather at the Warner Pine Grove Memorial Cemetery to honor those who had once resided at the facility, and have passed.
The Warner Pine Grove Cemetery is the final resting place for 204 residents who passed away at the institution between the years 1923 and the mid-seventies. Originally named the Pine Grove cemetery, it was dedicated in the 1980’s to Alfred Warner. The Warner family had been strong advocates for the improvements that were made to this cemetery, making it a respectable resting place for those buried there. Since that dedication, the yearly Memorial Ceremonies continue.
This year’s ceremony began with opening remarks from Dan Lunden, the Central West Regional Director of DDS. Representative Thomas Petrolati also spoke. Prayers from all faiths were offered by Sister Joan Magnani of Jericho House, Rabbi Joyce Galaski, and Monsignor Gregg Shumway. Names of former residents that had passed during the year are shared, and the participants are encouraged to offer their personal remembrances. Area Director Mary Lee Daniels shared her memories on those individuals who had left the facility and had come to live their remaining years in the Berkshire Area. Other attendees offered personal experiences of their own lives at Belchertown, and their appreciation of this event being held each year.
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