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Jerry and Marva Rowe made an impact on Oakland Cemetery

New monuments honor couple that documented the site’s significance

Atop a hill in historic Oakland Cemetery there is a stone bench with the inscription ”In Memory of Jerry & Marva Rowe” etched into its side.

A few steps away is a hefty boulder bearing a plaque that’s also dedicated to the Fort Dodge couple who, perhaps more than any other people, made the history of the cemetery accessible and vital.

The Rowes were history buffs who were especially intrigued with the Civil War era. That interest in history drew them to the cemetery on North 15th Street that was established in 1859.

They spent hours and hours walking the grounds and even more hours poring over old records. They documented more than 7,000 burials, mapping out and registering all the people laid to rest there. That work resulted in a directory of the cemetery.

They also secured official United States military headstones for Civil War veterans who had been buried with no grave markers.

Their work was also key in getting the cemetery added to the National Register of Historic Places.

The Rowes never got a dime for their work, nor did they ask for any money. Documenting the features and secrets of the cemetery was a labor of love for them.

Oakland Cemetery is also the last resting place for Jerry and Marva Rowe. She died in January; he died in April.

The Friends of the Oakland Cemetery decided to honor the Rowes with the bench and boulder.

Jerry and Marva Rowe did their best to make sure the history of Oakland Cemetery is never forgotten.

Thanks to the Friends of the Oakland Cemetery, the Rowes will never be forgotten either.