Red Dirt Diaries: Edmond Woman Documents, Replaces Worn Away Gravestones Markers


Friday, January 7th 2022, 5:17 pm

By: Karl Torp


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An Edmond woman is making it her mission to uncover the past after its been buried for more than a century.

Geri Pfeiffer volunteers as a detective of the dead.

Nearly five days a week, she walks the rows of grave markers at Gracelawn Cemetery in Edmond to add information to the website www.findagrave.com.

“You can learn their entire existence by looking at the names on a headstone,” said Pfeiffer.

Pfeiffer uses her interactive cemetery map to make sure the thousands of tombstones haven't fallen victim to time.

Some grave markers are missing or grass and dirt is now covering them.

“We put a GPS mark on each one we log so we know it’s there in perpetuity,” said Pfeiffer.

She recently discovered one grave marker, put into place in 1907, had completely sunken into the ground.

Pfeiffer was able to located the original headstone a half foot deep and bring it to the surface.

The final rest place of Ephriam David Rathbun, who served as a Union soldier in the Civil War, was particularly troubling for the Edmond grandmother.

“His profile didn’t have a grave marker. As a daughter, granddaughter, sister, and cousin of American military, that not acceptable to me,” said Pfeiffer.

Pfeiffer knew Rathbun was buried five feet from the center of his wife's grave.

Through a U.S. Veterans Affairs program, she was able to apply for and receive a new headstone.

It was place 100 years after Rathbun was buried at Gracelawn.

“It’s about doing the right thing. That’s all it’s ever been about for me,” said Pfeiffer.

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