The Friends of Decatur Cemetery (FODC), founded in 1993, is a dedicated volunteer group that works closely with the City of Decatur and its citizens to preserve, maintain and improve the cemetery and educate the community about its importance as a historic and cultural resource. Decatur Cemetery is the resting place of many citizens who helped create the communities we know today as Decatur, DeKalb County and the state of Georgia.

Today FODC continues to advocate for the preservation and improvement of the 58 acres of green space that make up the Decatur Cemetery, the oldest municipal burying ground in the area. The group continues to explore better utilization of the space as a treasured environment within an urban setting. With the implementation of a recent master plan, there is high anticipation that our cemetery will become an even greater treasure. 

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Ongoing Projects

Second Sunday Strolls: Conducted on the second Sunday of every month, May through October. Tours begin at 2:30 pm at the well house/gazebo in the historic Old Section. Suggested donation: $5. To arrange special group tours contact FODC at friendsofdecaturcemetery@gmail.com.

Volunteer Workdays: Join FODC every Tuesday for “Gardening among the Graves," 9 am to noon, to weed and garden in the historic Old Section. Volunteers also meet periodically on other days for general clean-up, pruning, weeding and planting. Participants have included community groups, church groups, civic organizations and local high school classes. Agnes Scott College students and faculty regularly schedule workdays at Decatur Cemetery. Bring your tools! For more information contact Jim at gardeningamongthegravesfodc@yahoo.com.

Photo Contests: Winning photos are announced in the Decatur Focus and displayed in the cemetery office and other city buildings. The photo contests are named in memory of Nancie Sill, former chair of FODC and avid photographer. For more information contact the FODC at friendsofdecaturcemetery@gmail.com. Up to five photos of the cemetery can be submitted. Watch the Decatur Focus or the FODC Facebook page for the next contest.

Veterans Day: Decatur Cemetery contains graves of veterans from every war from the American Revolution in 1776 through the most recent engagements in the Middle East. On the first Saturday in November, volunteers place US flags on the graves of more than 1,000 veterans. On Veterans Day, November 11, at 11 am, a service of remembrance is held in conjunction with the Harold Byrd Post 66 of the American Legion. Contact Amy Weaver at amy@b2creativeinc.com for details.

Gravestone conservation: FODC coordinates annual visits by a professional conservator to repair damaged gravestones in the historic Old Section. In addition FODC uses approved conservation techniques to clean selected gravestones.

Shared Memories. Enduring Legends: Recording the stories of Decatur Cemetery . . . because every life is worth remembering. FODC invites you to share information about those you know who are buried in Decatur Cemetery. Use our brief questionnaire to help you get started. Download the file here.

Other Projects and Accomplishments involving FODC

National Register of Historic Places listing, 1997.

Wellhouse (gazebo) c. 1881 restored, with subsequent painting and repairs to keep it a centerpiece of the historic Old Section.

The gravesite of Miss Emily Pittman (c. 1852) was restored, with repairs to both the tomb box and the lovely ornate cast iron fence.

Worked with the City of Decatur to create a self-guided walking tour brochure for the cemetery. These can be obtained at the cemetery office, the Decatur Visitors Center, or downloaded here.

Arranged the use of ground penetrating radar to locate several unmarked graves.

Worked with the City of Decatur to select cemetery management software. This will allow the public to access information online, and will enable the FODC to attach stories from the Shared Memories, Enduring Legends project to individual files.

Several members of FODC helped to host the Georgia Municipal Cemetery Conference in Decatur in 2012.

The veterans memorial at the Bell Street entrance was restored with support from the City of Decatur and Harold Byrd Post #66, American Legion.

Volunteer Opportunities:
• Clean-up and gardening
• Tour guides
• Research
• Historic preservation
• Website and social media
• Shared Memories, Enduring Legends project

FODC members welcome new members who share a passion for the preservation of such a beautiful, peaceful place. Those interested in joining or volunteering may contact FODC at friendsofdecaturcemetery@gmail.com.  

Woodpecker photo by Gerald Huggins.