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About Us

Vision Statement

The Walnut Grove and Flint Union Cemeteries provide places that are respectful of the passing of life as well as its continuation, a peaceful environment in which persons may grieve, meditate and be renewed, and a staff that provides high quality cemetery services.

Mission Statement

  1. Provide a park-like setting in which people have their final resting place and also provide a place for citizens to pursue appropriate community activity.

  2. Develop and follow a long-term maintenance plan and identify resources needed to carry out the plan.

  3. Study social, economic, and cultural trends and revise policies as appropriate.

  4. Provide training opportunities for staff and board members to be aware of the latest developments in cemetery operations. 

  5. Assist people with their genealogy searches.

  6. Provide the highest quality cemetery services.

  7. Continue development of the Flint Cemetery property in accordance with the master plan.

  8. Maintain a volunteer citizen organization.


Monthly Board of Trustees Meeting

The Cemetery Board of Trustees meets on the third Wednesday of every month at 4:30 p.m. The meeting is held at the Sharon Township Administrative Offices, 95 E. Wilson-Bridge Road, Worthington, Ohio 43085. The public is welcome to attend.


Rarely, due to quorum requirements, the meeting date and time will need to be changed. A call to the Cemetery office at 614-885-5933 is recommended to verify meeting date and time. 


A rescheduling of a meeting notice is posted at the Walnut Grove Cemetery Office, Sharon Township Administrative Offices, the City of Worthington offices, the webpage and/or the public library when necessary.

Cemetery Trustees

Debra Knapke

Debra Knapke began serving as a Cemetery Board Trustee in January of 2022. She has been a member of the Cemetery Advisory Committee for over 20 years and serves as Chair for this committee. Some of her other community involvement includes working with Ohio State Extension on Pollinator Projects, teaching classes on plants, gardens and the environment for the Columbus Garden School, and working at the Heritage Garden at the Ohio Governor’s Residence.

Beth Kowalczyk

Beth Kowalczyk began serving as a Cemetery Board Trustee in February of 2022 and has served on Worthington City Council since January 2018. Ms. Kowalczyk is the Chief Policy Officer for the Ohio Association of Area Agencies on Aging. She serves on the Boards of the HealthPath Foundation of Ohio and the Ohio Coalition for Adult Protective Services. She has been a resident of Worthington for over 12 years and is active with a number of local organizations including the Old Worthington Partnership Board, Worthington Bridges, Drug Safe Worthington, Friends Foundation of Worthington Libraries, the Worthington Women’s Club and the Worthington Historical Society City of Worthington.

John H. Oberle

John H. Oberle is the Sharon Township representative to the Cemetery Board and serves in the capacity of Chairman on the Board. He has been a Sharon Township Trustee since 2006. Some of his other community involvement includes Central Ohio Regional Shared Services Steering Committee, Ohio State Airport (Advisory Committee), Worthington Youth Boosters and Basketball Coach.

Cemetery Staff

Thomas A. Kayati

Thomas Kayati has been employed by the Cemetery for over 40 years and has worked as the Cemetery Superintendent since 1992. He is a lifelong Worthington resident. Mr. Kayati served on the Ohio Dispute Resolution Commission for seven years and is a past Board member of the Ohio Association of Cemetery Superintendents and Officials. Mr. Kayati was awarded the Outstanding Cemeterian Award in February, 2012 by the Ohio Cemetery Association.

Elaine Russell

Elaine Russell has been the Office Manager for the Cemeteries since 2000. She served as the Secretary/Treasurer for the Ohio Cemetery Association for four years. 

Advisory Committee

The Cemetery Advisory Committee is made up of members of the community who volunteer their time and lend their professional expertise to the management, expansion and beautification of the cemeteries. Committee member backgrounds include: Surveying, Land Management, Horticultural and Landscape Architecture, Geology and Soil Analysis, Mortuary Science, Political Science and History.

Lauren Blyth

Lauren has many interests and expertise in a variety of areas. She is an ecologist, carpenter, customer service specialist, nature enthusiast, millennial, and cemetery neighbor.


John and Steff Haueisen

Worthington Historical Society Representatives


Fred Hower

“The Ohio Nurseryman,” Adjunct Faculty, Landscape Design, Columbus State Community College, Landscape consultant, speaker and author


Don Jones

Retired Executive Vice President, Rutherford-Corbin Funeral Home


Susan Rice

Worthington resident and artist


Debra Knapke

Garden designer, consultant, speaker and author


Diane Randolph

Certified Master Gardener; Member, Worthington Hills Garden Club and Worthington Women’s Club, Worthington Historical Society


Dr. Douglas Southgate 

Professor at The Ohio State University since 1980 and a Worthington resident since 1988.


Dr. Julie Weatherington Rice

Soil Science; Certified Professional Geologist and Soil Scientist

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