COLUMBUS, Ohio — Zabrena Zellers Stahl and Wendy Everett are cemetery enthusiasts. They call themselves Gals in the Graveyard. The two moms love history, mystery and putting in hard work to restore gravestones.
The mission of Gals in the Graveyard is to share the beauty of cemeteries and the stories they hold while educating others about cemetery conservation.
Every Thursday, Stahl and Everett volunteer in the Baby Land section of the Green Lawn Cemetery in Columbus.
“Either the families are gone or they’re getting too old to come and care for these plots,” said Stahl. “So a lot of times, they kind of fall by the wayside."
The two also spend time working to conserve historically Black cemeteries.
It’s not a glamorous hobby. Despite the heat, the two spend several hours each week dedicated to leveling and realigning the headstones. They said you have to get permission before beginning any conservation work like this and one day, they hope future generations will be able to pick up where they leave off.
“Any conservation work you do is conservation work. You don’t want it to be permanent. It needs to be something that somebody can work on later in life. You know, in a long time,” said Stahl.
It’s a several-step process for each, individual stone but it’s worth the work for the Gals in the Graveyard who are continuing to bring life to the dead.
“We enjoy all of it," they said.
The Gals in the Graveyard fundraise and sell T-shirts to cover the costs of their tools and materials. Additionally, they take restoration and conservation requests. If you’re interested or would like to volunteer, you can visit Gals in the Graveyard on Facebook or galsinthegraveyard.com.