The TCA: Standing in the Gap
The TCA fields several calls a month from consumers, cemetery owners, monument installers and many others with a variety of questions and concerns. Our goal is to provide information, to facilitate communication between parties, and to assist in the resolution of issues before costly legal action becomes necessary. Not only do we act as the Texas representative of the Cemetery Consumer Service Council created by the ICCFA ; but we also receive many referrals by the Texas Department of Banking as well as the Texas Funeral Service Commission. This is one of the many services we proudly offer.
Some time ago we had an inquiry for direction from a person whose relatives are interred in Oakland Cemetery in Dallas, Texas. This person was extremely concerned at the deterioration of the condition of this old and historic cemetery. Oakland Cemetery was founded in 1890 and contains the remains of many influential Dallas citizens including former mayors, congressmen, representatives and sports figures.
Coincidentally, within a few short days of the inquiry, Dallas / Fort Worth WFAA-TV produced and aired a news report spotlighting the problems currently experienced by Oakland Cemetery. The problem this historic cemetery is experiencing is one that is being multiplied across Texas with similar private cemeteries: their perpetual care fund is not earning sufficient interest in these drastic economic times to adequately maintain the cemetery grounds. Our answer to this person’s inquiry was to explain the hard realities that a cemetery such as this can face. The hard reality is that when there is no money, there is no money. However, we were able to refer this person to two organizations that might be of assistance.
The Texas Historical Commission has a program called Guardian RIP. As stated on their webpage the Guardian RIP program is a statewide network of cemetery preservation volunteers dedicated to protecting historic burial grounds in Texas. The Texas Historical Commission provides technical assistance to RIP Guardians across the state, and encourages them to Record, Investigate and Protect (RIP) local history by volunteering at a historic cemetery.
Save Texas Cemeteries, Inc. has a webpage stating that its mission is to promote the preservation of historic cemeteries and burial grounds throughout Texas by public education and historic research in order to preserve our rich, multi-cultural heritage. You can find more information about this organization by going to their webpage: Save Texas Cemeteries.
We hope that our assistance in this situation will lead to a positive result. Time will tell. Whatever the outcome, the TCA continues to provide valuable assistance to the cemetery industry and to the public by making itself available as a mediator, sounding board and information source.