By: Tammy Allison
THE VILLAGE REPORTER
Sometimes, every once in a while, you find a friend, that special friend, in the most unlikely of places. For some people, that might mean a week at summer camp. For others, it might be bumping into someone at the farmer’s market. For Maryann Reimund, of Wauseon, it was a visit to the local cemetery.
The Wauseon Union Cemetery is the final resting grounds of Maryann’s grandparents, aunts, and uncles. She visits often, to tend to their graveside and pay her respects. “I spend a lot of time at the cemetery…walking, spending time at the graveside of family,” she states.
It was during these visits that she met Scott Stiriz, Superintendent of the Wauseon Union Cemetery. “He makes it a point to come by to greet people,” she explains. Over the years, Maryann says they have developed a great friendship.
Maryann and Scott discovered that they had similar backgrounds. Maryann’s grandfather was a caretaker for Tedrow and Ottokee cemetery so she grew up on a cemetery stating her grandfather hand dug every grave as she and her siblings and cousins watched and helped as they could. For Scott, his own children grew up at the cemetery working alongside him as he planted flowers and tended to the beatification of gravesites.
Maryann wants people to be reminded of the positive that continues to exist in the world. “Good people are still out in the world. Scott has made a big impact on me.”
She believes Scott models positive in who he is. “He gives and gives and gives and never asks for anything in return,” she believes.
Wauseon Union Cemetery on Elm Street on the edge of town is well manicured and well kept. Scott and his crew work tirelessly to ensure that cemetery is always tended to.
Maryann shared that when she and Scott were talking one day, he told her, “I try to treat every weekend as Memorial Day.” When she asked further what he meant by that, he shared that he wants the cemetery to look presentable and as nice as it would on Memorial Day weekend. He wants it to be beautiful every weekend because weekends are often when people come.
Scott treats and tends to each graveside as though it were one of his own family members. Countless hours are spent on details no is aware of but adds to the beauty.
He pays attention to detail. When visitors come and seek him in search of a gravesite, chances are, he will know. When someone misses the graveside clean up date, he keeps wreaths and items for people to come after rather than just disposing of them. His creativeness and stewardship of the resources he has to work with are evident in the everyday beauty of the cemetery. He has installed solar posts and new grave markers. When medallions were stolen, he tracked down leads and was on top of it.
Maryann appreciates Scott’s care and attention to detail. In honor of and as a tribute to the Wauseon firemen, she had a Fireman’s Memorial put up at the cemetery.
Born and raised on Clinton Street across from the fire department, she wanted to honor these men and women who perform duty to the community.
“Scott takes care of the memorial and makes sure it is always beautiful as he does for so many people.” As Maryann points out, “Death is inevitable. It’s a very high emotional time. Scott is so comforting in his own ways.”
When graves shift, Scott adjusts them. Often, people plant things but never come back to tend to the plants. Scott will contact family members and ask for permission to take care of something or remove it if the plant is not able to be revived.
“He takes things personally. He is always willing to work with anyone who wants to better a situation and is also big into honoring Veterans,” Maryann adds.
Scott Stiriz is also very involved in the life of his local community. He serves on the Wauseon City Council. He is the chair of the Parks and Safety and Code committee and a member of the Streets Committee. He is presently a member of the ADAMhs Board, past member of the Wauseon Homecoming Committee, and past member of the Wauseon Athletic Committee. He is married to his wife LuAnn and has two grown children.
He is a reminder that good people are out there making a difference quietly, unnoticed as unsung heroes in our communities. In the quietest places of solitude in Wauseon, Scott ensures beauty can be found not only to please the eye but to provide comfort and solitude in the most difficult of moments. He truly is an unsung hero.
Tammy Allison may be reached at
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