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When Pat Fernberg requests vacation days from her job as Associate House Manager for Severance Hall, she doesn’t always relax at home or take a day trip.
She occasionally uses this precious time to pick up additional shifts in her already robust volunteer schedule for Lake View Cemetery. “I love to spend as much time as I can at Lake View. It’s doesn’t feel like work, and it’s rewarding and fun!”
Pat’s father was the first to instill in her a love for architecture and Cleveland history, but it wasn’t until she began dating her husband, Michael, that she developed an appreciation for these features as they related to a cemetery.
“Michael was a photographer, and he brought me to Lake View to take pictures on one of our dates!”
Pat recalls, “I was surprised to be going to a cemetery for a date, of course, but he assured me that Lake View was not like any cemetery I had ever been to. It was a place where art, architecture, nature, and history all joined in one spot. He was right!” After Pat and Michael were married, trips to Lake View became a regular occurrence.
When Michael passed away in 1998, Pat would come to the cemetery to visit Michael’s resting place, but nothing more. “It took me a while to enjoy the activities we used to do together. But eventually I realized the best way to honor Michael was to share my love for Lake View with others and get them as excited to learn about the cemetery as Michael had made it for me!”
Pat has been a volunteer and docent for Lake View since 2009, helping at events and leading group tours with students, civic, and senior groups. “Each time I give a tour, I grow as a person. I learn something new about the cemetery when I see it fresh through the eyes of our guests!” she goes on. “I love reminding visitors that people from all walks of life are buried here, and even if they weren’t a Rockefeller or a President – they were important to somebody.”
Lake View Cemetery is very lucky to have found a dedicated volunteer such as Pat, but if you ask her, she feels like the lucky one.
“I get to spend my days surrounded by extreme beauty and history, while watching others develop the respect and admiration for the cemetery that I have. What’s not to love?”
Are you interested in becoming a tour guide, docent, or event volunteer at Lake View Cemetery? Become a Daffodil Deputy!
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