On Monday, the Clark Lake Cemetery will be a focus of the community.  It’s a tradition that the Memorial Day Parade pauses at that location to observe the solemnity of the occasion.  It’s meant as a prayer and salute to those buried in the cemetery who fell while serving our military.  Most other days, the cemetery is off the radar of most.  

As reported previously on this website, the Township invited Clark Lake residents to a meeting to discuss the future of the cemetery.  The meeting was hosted by Township Clerk Barry Marsh, who is also responsible for the management of the cemetery.  These photos, taken just before the meeting, suggest some of the issues at hand.

As the result of the discussions at the meeting, Clerk Marsh will present these topics at a meeting of the Columbia Township Board of Trustees.

  • Survey / Verification of Clark Lake Cemetery Boundaries
  • Research the purchase of land to expand the Clark Lake Cemetery
  • Cemetery Cleanup – Eliminate overgrowth and brush
  • Eliminate, Reduce or Screen dirt pile
  • Research and replace boundary fences

The first two items, property survey and possible expansion, were discussed in recognition of current space limitations.  Tombstones can be found going back to the 1800s, and many more grave sites have been added through the decades.  The survey would confirm the actual dimensions and availabilities.  The columbarium is available and space has been designated to build additional ones. 

Fees are charged for burials.  Please scroll down for the Township schedule if you wish to review them. 

The Township has a budget for care of the cemeteries it owns.  Barry Marsh indicated the “2021/2022 fiscal year budget has approximately $35,000 for the entire maintenance of all 4 Township cemeteries.  The Board also approved an additional $25,000 for cemetery improvements outside routine maintenance.”  An idea discussed was the creating an endowment to receive donations for the cemeteries. 

About 18 years ago a major improvement was initiated by the Clark Lake Spirit Foundation (then called the Clark Lake Foundation).  At the time, the fence and pillars facing Hyde Road were not there.  People accessing the boat launch across the street would park their cars and trailers well into the cemetery and atop some of the graves.   Recognizing the desecration, the Foundation’s president, Mike McKay, contacted then Township Supervisor Dan Burich.  They discussed the possibilities.  Mike had the cemetery surveyed, and found the boundaries were rightfully 20 feet to the east, where cars and trailers would park.  What took place next was a collaborative effort involving Dan Burich and the Foundation directors–Mike McKay, Brian Adamzcyk, Michele Ambs, Peggy Collins, John Kudner, Linda Reynolds, Joe Thorrez, Mick Thorrez, and Nate Vermeulen.  A plan was conceived to install the fencing and pillars.   As with many other Clark Lake projects, both the energy and financing for the project came from residents through the Foundation.

The landscaping along the front fences and pillars was installed, and is maintained, by Clark Lake volunteers  

Here are the Columbia Township fees associated with use of the cemeteries.

  • Cemetery Lots/Columbarium
  • $300 per plot for residents
  • $900 per plot for non-residents
  • $1,100 for the Columbarium. Internment of cremains (only in columbarium) is $100 without a service and $200 with a service.

Grave Openings & Closings

  • $700 – regular
  • $260 – baby
  • $310 – child
  • $260 – cremation
  • Winter rates apply from November 15 – March 31.  Fee of $200 will be charged for a regular burial and $50 for a cremation. Transfer fee is $25.

Cemetery plot map



Photo from meeting