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Cemetery walk a great way to learn history (10/23/2013)
From: Cemetery Walk Committee

Kathy Turner, Chair

Mark Peterson, WCHS Executive Director

Jonelle Moore, Susan Eddy, Walt Bennick, Audrey Gorny, Kate Carlson, Judy Shepard, Michelle Alexander, Mel Bailey, Steve Bachler and Jennifer Weaver

It was a glorious autumn weekend as the Winona County Historical Society held its fifteenth annual cemetery walk, “Voices from the Past: Woodlawn Discovery Walk,” October 9-13 in Winona’s beautiful Woodlawn Cemetery. Once again, the history of the area came “alive” as actors portrayed our ancestors and told the story of early Winona County life.

The Cemetery Walk was held on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday for approximately 650 local and area students. What a personal way to learn about history! We thank the area teachers and schools for their continued patronage and support.

This year’s theme was “The Mississippi River: Lure and Lore,” centering on the importance of the river to our commerce and ways in which we use the river for leisure and fishing. The stories that were shared included the dangers of the river and the heroism of many when the river threatened the citizens with raging waters.

Thank you to all of our guests who came to visit the cemetery on this beautiful weekend. A special thanks goes to the actors who so effectively brought the characters to life. Thanks also to the volunteer guides who helped us find our way through the cemetery. We held a special Cemetery Walk event on Thursday evening at the Winona County Historical Society which was attended by about 80 guests. Mike Paffrath did a great job as our emcee for the evening, portraying E.D. Williams, founder and first superintendent of Woodlawn Cemetery. Also a big “thank you” goes to the “River Singers” who entertained our guests as they waited to be escorted through the cemetery on the weekend.

Thank you to Dick Karnath for portraying his father and to Sonny Misar, Gayle Goetzman, archivist Walt Bennick, script writers Jonelle Moore, Steve Bachler, Kathy Schuler, Jerome Christenson, John Carrier, Dan Pomeroy, Diane Forsythe and Tom Thompson. Thank you to Clarence Russell, Jodi Brom, Erin Alexander, costumer Jennifer Weaver, Debbie LaFee Karnath, who assisted with costuming, photographer and videographer Reverend Jim Nelson, WSU Women’s Rugby Team, and Al Paffrath. Special thanks to Kate Carlson for creating our beautiful program.Because of the help of local media, the Cemetery Walk was well publicized and was well attended.

Special thanks to the Woodlawn Cemetery Association Board of Directors, Tim Leahy, Cemetery Superintendent, and his staff. Their enthusiastic support allows us to enjoy the beauty of the cemetery while learning about our ancestors and the hardships they withstood to help make Winona and the surrounding area the place it is today.

Heartfelt thanks to these and many others who helped with this event, including the staff of the Winona County Historical Society, and all of those businesses and individuals who bought advertisements in our program, all of our guides, script writers, parking attendants, and cookie bakers and sellers. Please mark your 2014 calendars for next year’s Cemetery Walk. You won’t want to miss it: October 8 - 12, 2014.



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