By Kathy L. Collins

The Ruskin Cemetery, re-dedicated in 1964 as the Ruskin Memorial Park, is the final resting place for many of the area’s pioneers and founding families of Ruskin. It is for this reason and others that the GFWC Ruskin Woman’s Club has taken on the cemetery as one of its main projects.

Debbie Bonebrake, a member of the club said, “About four years ago, a member of the club told us that, while she has a family plot at the cemetery, she will not be buried there because the cemetery was full of weeds.” Over the years, the cemetery had fallen into a state of disrepair.

The Woman’s Club organized clean ups which were well attended, but as Bonebrake explained, “We decided that we had to do something to preserve the cemetery for the future.”

The Woman’s Club, with the help of the Community Foundation of Sun City Center, will establish a preservation endowment fund. The Woman’s Club must raise $75,000 over the next three years. If they meet their goal of the challenge grant, the Community Foundation of Sun City Center will contribute an additional $25,000.

“The fund is for the future of the cemetery. Once established, only interest will be used for maintaining the cemetery,” explained Bonebrake. The money is restricted and cannot be used for any other purpose. The cemetery is a non-profit, so funds donated are tax deductible.

Most cemeteries are set up so that there is a fund in place to take care of perpetual care. However, this was never done with the Ruskin Memorial Park primarily because it is run by volunteers.  But now, thanks to the initiative of the members of the Woman’s Club, such a fund is being established.

The establishment of the fund was just recently announced and already there have been significant contributions made. If you would like to make a donation, you can send a check made payable to the GFWC Ruskin Woman’s Club and send it to P.O. Box 547, Ruskin, FL 33547. Please put in the memo section “Ruskin Memorial Park.” You can also visit the BMO Bank at MiraBay and make a donation.

Those interested in seeing the Ruskin Memorial Park taken care of in the future can also talk to their estate professional about designating funds in their will.

If you have questions, please e-mail Bonebrake at ruskinceme


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