BRAINERD — An annual meeting of the Evergreen Cemetery Association is required by the association’s bylaws and is held during the month of July each year. This year’s meeting marked 144 years of service to the greater Brainerd community. All members of the Board of Trustees and Executive Director Dede Tollefson were present along with one person from the public.

Denise Blackwell-Kraft, Fred Casey and Terry Thorkelson were re-elected to another three-year term on the Board of Trustees. Officers remain the same for the coming year: Duane Blanck, president; John Boeder, vice president; Gary Bluth, treasurer; and John Van Essen, secretary. Written reports were received from the executive director, president and standing committees and placed on file for review by association members and the public. Copies are available upon request by contacting the cemetery office at 218-829-5898.

A continuing challenge for the Board of Trustees is the financial future for Evergreen Cemetery Association due to the cultural change of cremation, resulting in fewer cemetery burials, the board reported in a news release.

“This has a significant negative impact on income and finances,” the news release stated. “As a result, donations from association members and the public have become critical to overall operations and was so noted by the treasurer with a sincere thank you to all who have generously supported Evergreen Cemetery Association in the past year with financial donations.”

Boeder also recognized staff including Tollefson; Brandan Mutz, the newly hired superintendent; and part-time employees for their dedication and good work. Also noted by Van Essen were the several volunteers who assist with the overall efforts to perpetuate the legacy of the association’s cemeteries as places of rest, remembrance and reflection.

Announcement was made that a second columbarium will be constructed in the fall of 2023 and available for cremation burials in 2024.

The Board of Trustees welcomes feedback from association members and comments from the public.

Questions and requests for information can be directed to any of the trustees or Tollefson.

The Association website is which contains information about Evergreen Cemetery Association, including the Directory of the Dead.