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Broken Marysville Cemetery headstones restored
Don't call it a resurrection, but perhaps more of a reconstruction.
A half-dozen family monuments at the venerable Marysville Cemetery pointed to the heavens again on Thursday, as a crew from a Rocklin company repaired the last bits of damage from last year's sizable vandalism.
"Oh, look at that!" said Roberta Shurtz, the cemetery's chairwoman, as workers from Ruhkala Granite & Marble Co. lowered a granite monument into place on the Jewett family plot. "Voilà!"
Shurtz said her happiness was in contrast to last April, when vandals did $20,000 worth of damage to the cemetery on the city's northern edge.
"We've fixed everything else," she said.
But the monuments, made of granite or marble and weighing as much as 900 pounds each, were too heavy to put back correctly without some extra heft. Cemetery board members got the financial assistance to do so, after the city of Marysville approved an insurance claim for the damage.
Roy Ruhkala, whose family business dates back to 1889, said he was glad his company got to help do the repairs. "This is the biggest project we've ever had," he said.
"It makes you sick," Ruhkala said of the damage. When he began in the business in 1970 in Sacramento, he said, any spare time he and his employees had was spent on repairing or cleaning older tombstones and monuments.
As company workers prepared the site, Ruhkala began to describe the proper method to mount the monuments again to make sure they stayed upright. The monuments' base needed clean holes for pins to mount it, and epoxy and cement to hold it fast.
Nearby, his son, Paul Ruhkala, said he had to marvel at some of the monuments, which date back a century or more.
"Now, you can use machinery," he said, between stints where he and two others guided a slab lifted by a crane into place. "Back then, this craftsmanship would've taken weeks to do. Months."
The cemetery, which is as old as the state of California, founded in 1850, was seeing more than its normal share of activity Thursday; Shurtz said there hadn't been a burial there since 1997.
But the cemetery board is still accepting donations for restoration efforts, she said.