Allegan City promotions coordinator Parker Johnson brought to life the character of Glen Austin (1893-1929) who was a daredevil parachutist and now a resident of Oakwood Cemetery. (Photo by Virginia Ransbottom)

Cemetery tour puts history in its place

Virginia Ransbottom, Staff Writer

A former sheriff, a daredevil parachutist, a hat maker, a teacher, a cemetery sexton and a young girl gone too soon, were all characters brought to life during the sixth annual Oakwood Cemetery Living History tour June 1 and 2.

Monique Sontad and Christine Callender were repeat visitors on the tour, hosted by the Allegan County Historical Society, and said it is always interesting.

“I’ve lived in the area all my life and enjoy its history,” said Sontad.

Callender said the tour is like pieces of a puzzle that fit together.

“I’ve heard some of the names before and this puts them in place,” she said.

The funds raised from the tour will serve that passion. Underway for the past few years, proceeds are used to clean and repair gravestones for future generations.

Traci Perrigo was on hand demonstrating how the stones are cleaned. She received inquiries of where to get certified for other area cemetery projects. Perrigo has a Historic Preservation Certificate after attending gravestone preservation workshops along with her husband Tim and Amanda and Marty Strickfaden who started the project.

If interested in helping with the project, email or call the Old Jail Museum at (269) 673-8292.

Virginia Ransbottom can be contacted at or at (269) 673-5534.




For our full story—including details on each of the people featured on the tour—pick up a copy of the June 7 issue of The Allegan County News or subscribe to the e-edition.

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