Meadowbrook Cemetery, Lamar County, TX
Meadowbrook Cemetery is located about 3 miles from Paris on State Highway
#271 south in the southeast quadrant of the county, and just south of Cox Airport.
It is in Block 41 of the Lamar County Road Map produced by American Drafting
and Services revised December 1993. This perpetual care cemetery is among the
newest cemeteries in the county.
In February 1993, the owners allowed Ruth Renfro and Roberta Woods to copy the record journal of the cemetery. These records relinquished the greatest amount of genealogical data heretofore gathered for persons in a single cemetery. Many of the entries contained parent names, marriage, birth and death place information. As Meadowbrook is used almost weekly the count has already exceeded that number at this printing. The oldest burial is that of Korean Veteran, Billy R. Poole who died 1 June 1951. There are older dates shown in the records but these were disinterments from other area cemeteries. At present there are over 2,501 records of graves.
THE PARIS NEWS, Thursday, December 19, 1996, Front Page: 'State banking department investigates perpetual care cemetery-- Funeral homes continue services at Meadowbrook Cemetery-- Cheryl Alvarez, News Staff Writer-- Christine Kelley mourns her deceased mother and husband but also she is saddened by the deterioration of their grave sites. Ms. Kelley's kin is buried in Meadowbrook Cemetery, U.S. Highway 271 south. Graves usually adorned with flowers are bare and markers have sunk into the mud. Without a caretaker, the grass has overgrown and the site appears abandoned. A notice on the door refers inquiries to the state Department of Banking, special audits division. 'I've been out there and lifted both of the markers up with cinder blocks,' Ms. Kelley said. 'My mother's I could hardly find.' Approximately six months ago, former owner Paul Bean Inc. sold the stock of this perpetual care cemetery to James Hailey of Sulphur Springs. This new caretaker updated the stone sign entry way and brought ducks to swim in the nearby pond. He subsequently disappeared, leaving no one to care for finances and upkeep. Since the property had been left uncared for, Paris attorney A.W. Clem has fielded scores of calls but said his dealings with the cemetery were limited to representation of the former owner Paul Bean Inc. 'I don't know what the status of the cemetery is,' Clem said. He noted funds are in good shape and records were maintained until Hailey's disappearance. According to Lamar County Genealogical Society records, Meadowbrook has 2,589 documented burials. The earliest burial was for Billy R. Poole, who died June 1, 1951. While local funeral directors declined comment, area funeral homes are continuing to provide burial services at Meadowbrook. Inquiries into the status of Meadowbrook should be directed to the state Department of special audit division director Stephanie Newberg, (512) 475-1300.'
THE PARIS NEWS, Tuesday, Feb. 4, 1997, p. 1A. 'Families consider takeover of
cemetery-- Consultants propose owners form association to operate Meadowbrook--
Cheryl Alvarez News Staff Writer- Impending state takeover of Meadowbrook Cemetery
stirred an audience of more than 150 people to consider forming an owners association.
Hosted by Robert Wright and Ray Windham of Win-Right Realty, Dallas, the consultants posed the opportunity Monday to plot owners and families with loved ones interred at Meadowbrook.
Meadowbrook Cemetery was abandoned by former owner James Hailey in fall 1996. During the past six months, the perpetual care cemetery has had no on-site maintenance. While burials continue to be conducted, many families are providing their own plot care and await placement of purchased memorial markers.
'At this moment, the cemetery is not officially abandoned,' Wright said to those gathered for the called meeting at Immanuel Baptist Church. Abandonment starts on a time schedule next month.'
State banking department procedures require an annual report be filed in March. Should Hailey not file the report, the state would refer the case for receivership to a state judge who would appoint an attorney to disburse perpetual care trust funds to satisfy liens and attorney's fees. Any remaining funds would be prorated to verifiable lot owners.
A preliminary audit of Meadowbrook perpetual care fund shows a balance of $52,000. Wright said, cemetery records appear also to be intact. 'We feel if you take it before abandonment, the time is now,' Wright said. While pitching the plan to purchase the cemetery from Paul Steele of Colby, Kan., who holds two outstanding $60,000 notes, Wright and Windham proposed their company serve as consultants and retain a management fee.
A handout provided to meeting participants outlined income potential of Meadowbrook Cemetery. With 2,500 estimated occupied spaces, 1,000 sold spaces awaiting use, Wright estimated remaining spaces of 20,000 could be sold at $350 each and generate $7 million.
Sale of projected burial services and current assets brought the cemetery's estimated value in excess of $8 million. Wright and Windham described how a non-profit association governed by a volunteer board of directors would oversee cemetery business. The consultants would assist with employing a caretaker and daily operations.
Airing grievances from unfulfilled contracts and concerns of liability risks for outstanding debt, questions also focused on whether participants in the owners association would have to commit financial backing to the venture.
When pressed, Windham estimated start-up costs for working the cemetery would be $15,000-20,000, not including a purchase offer to the owner. Expressing a need for legal counsel, audience consensus was not to immediately form an owners association. On a motion from the floor offered by Meta Dee Woodard and seconded by Joel Gray, the group chose to name seven volunteers to further research the matter and present findings during a second group meeting.
Volunteers will be Ms. Woodard, Gray, Carl Ray Hatcher, Bee O'Brien, Magdalena Plata, Bob McDougal and Harrell Taylor.'
THE PARIS NEWS, Thursday, April 3, 1997, p. 1A. 'Cemetery proceeds toward sale- Cheryl Alvarez, News Staff Writer- State banking officials have been notified Meadowbrook Cemetery has undergone foreclosure proceedings. Randall James, deputy commissioner with Texas Department of Banking audit division, said Wednesday, 'at this point I believe there, are a couple of interested parties and I believe within a couple of weeks everything will be much more stabilized.' James indicated both prospective buyers, of the perpetual care cemetery are qualified to meet licensing requirements. 'From our standpoint, we would be looking at the management experience and capacity of the acquirer and if that meets then that person of company would qualify to serve as a perpetual care license,' James said. The official said the department is concerned with providing stability to the cemetery and acknowledge the trying time citizens have experienced. He said the foreclosed owner, Paul Steele of Colby, Kan., will make a selection from prospective buyers and James said he does not expect a decision until next week. 'By this time next month,' James said, 'new management could be installed and all documents would be current with the state banking commission.'
THE PARIS NEWS, Sunday, June 8, 1997, p. 1A: 'Meadowbrook Cemetery Sold-- The often troubled Paris Meadowbrook Gardens Cemetery has been purchased by a firm based in Houston. Banking Commissioner Catherine A. Ghiglieri Friday announced the sale of Meadowbrook to Memorial Operations, Inc. Memorial Operations owns and manages three other perpetual care cemeteries in Texas - Hollywood Cemetery in Houston, Resthaven of Navarro Cemetery in Corsicana and Belvedere Memorial Park in San Angelo. Johnny Caberera, senior vice president and general manager of Memorial Operations said he plans to quickly hire a local manager for Meadowbrook. Memorial officially took over operation of Meadowbrook on June 5. 'We very much appreciate working with state Rep. Pete Patterson on this sensitive issue,' said Ghiglieri, 'He was able to move the process along to a positive resolution. The difficulties of this transition are now behind the Paris community and we believe the cemetery's new management will prove satisfactory to the families of those buried in Meadowbrook.' Meadowbrook was abandoned by former owner James Hailey in the fall of 1996 and had no maintenance from that time until the new ownership took over.'
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