New sign at Kenbridge Heights Cemetery

Published 12:06 pm Thursday, April 21, 2016

A new stone sign has been placed at the entrance of the Kenbridge Heights Cemetery.

Erected on Sunday, April 17, the sign is in memory of the Gee, Saunders and other families related by marriage; and dedicated to the memory of Betty Jean Saunders Goad, Garnette Saunders Teass said.

Teass’ mother was a Gee, her father a Saunders, and Goad was her sister. Their family farm was near Dundas.

“I had noticed that the cemetery had no official sign at its entrance and thought it needed one,” she said. “It is such a lovely, peaceful spot and the cemetery board is doing such a great job maintaining it. In a sense not only does the stone memorialize mine and all my related families — and I am sure we have overlooked some — but it hopefully reflects the pride that the community takes in the cemetery.”

Indeed, Teass said, the point of sign is not to be perceived as some sort of display of wealth, but as what it really is: a sincere attempt to honor her forefathers.

“As an amateur genealogist, I never cease to be humbled by what our ancestors did in making this new world,” she said. “It took courage, optimism, hard work and self-discipline. Those virtues can never be extolled too often or too loudly.”

Teass said she and her sister Marian Saunders Kessler have published a book on the Gee genealogy.

“In it we reiterated the words of our cousin, General Ned Gee, that ‘family becomes the foundation stone of life and the rock upon which all else is built,’” Teass said. “We wanted our readers to take pride in their ancestors and feel more empowered to live life forward in their spirit.  We want the memorial to serve the same purpose.”

In fact, Teass said she hopes the memorial will inspire others in the area to memorialize their families in a way that also enhances the beauty of the cemetery. There is already talk of plantings, Teass said, and she’s hopeful some group will step forward with an offer to maintain any placed there.

Teass said her sister Goad was a member of the Kenbridge High School graduating class of 1957 and lived in the Dundas area. She was also a member of the Macedonia United Methodist Church in Alberta. She died in Greensboro, NC, on March 2, 2014.

For a good part of her life, she struggled with polycystic kidney disease and was involved in Duke University research efforts to find a cure, Teass said. Her body was donated to Duke to aid in the research.

Teass said she and her husband, Bud Teass, had been talking about doing some sort of memorial for their respective families and decided it was time. Bud Teass’ family settled in New London, and he plans to place a stone memorial there, she said.