The Widder Curry Bids a Fond Farewell to Director of Ft. Rosecrans Cemetery

by on October 26, 2015 · 6 comments

in Culture, Environment, History, Life Events, Ocean Beach, The Widder Curry

Rosecrans cemetary

Ft Rosecrans Cemetery

By Judi Curry

On August 21, 2012 I wrote my first article about the deplorable conditions at Fort Rosecrans Cemetery. The trees we dying; the grass was dying; and the one place I found solace after my husband Bob’s death was no more.

On August 15, 2014, I wrote a subsequent article about the same place, still unhappy about the conditions of the cemetery. I sent a copy of that article to Doug Ledbetter, the Director of the Cemetery, and what followed was a miraculous change for the better. (Not because of my letter, but because Doug also recognized the problems and set forth to correct them.)

Ft Rosecrans cem jc 8-9-14

August 9, 2014. Photo by Judi Curry.

The problems that I found offensive were in the process of being repaired; Doug was given an “assistant” to help in the reconstruction of the cemetery. At the same time, the new Miramar cemetery was getting ready to open and Doug was also in charge of seeing that the Veterans that would be buried there were given the respect and resting place that they so richly deserved.

Over the past year my widow support group and I have made several visits to the Ft. Rosecrans cemetery to pay homage to our loved ones. Each time we came away with a better feeling about the upkeep and looks of the cemetery. I was there just yesterday to celebrate my husband’s birthday today, and was pleased to see green grass; healthy trees and an expanse of lawn that was being taken care of with pride.

But I also learned that Doug is leaving Ft. Rosecrans to return to his home state of Ohio. He told me that he was given an opportunity to go back home to Ohio where he was selected as the Director of Dayton National Cemetery. That is where his family is from, and where his career began as a cemetery caretaker in 1996.

He also said that it has “always been my mission to leave a cemetery better than it was when he got there. San Diego deserves it. But Dayton is home. All of our family is there. We will miss the weather, and the food out here. The cost of living – not as much!”

I personally want to thank Doug for all the work that was completed in making the cemetery a place of pride again. I rest easier knowing that my husband, and the thousands of veterans that are resting at Ft. Rosecrans, are once again receiving the recognition and honor they deserve. Doug did a fantastic job; I only hope that his replacement will have the same goals and desires to keep the cemetery as a source of pride for veterans all over the world.

Best of luck to you and your family, Doug. A job well done.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Candy October 26, 2015 at 1:44 pm

Judi, I’m so glad to read this interesting & informative article. I’ve really missed your articles. You’re such a wonderful writer. I’m glad that Ft. Rosecrans looks beautiful again. I’m sorry Doug is leaving. Candy


Irene October 26, 2015 at 3:38 pm

I am so glad you are back to writing articles. Really like this one.


OB Mercy October 26, 2015 at 4:06 pm

Good for you Judi.


Judi October 26, 2015 at 4:21 pm

Thank you Mercy. Coming from you means a lot!


Frank Gormlie October 26, 2015 at 6:54 pm

More than any other citizen journalist in San Diego, Judi Curry has been on top of this issue. And we applaud her for it – and like others here, are glad to see her writing again. Of course things have changed, and this drought makes huge green lawns look wasteful, and it’s a shame, but we cannot afford to have green grass cemeteries right now. That’s a different issue than having the cemetery look like it’s being maintained well.


judi October 26, 2015 at 8:41 pm

Thank you Frank. It’s nice to be recognized. It’s even nicer to know that I am now back into writing!


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