WBM october 2017
To send a 12-month
to your friends and family, visit
or call (910) 256-6569
t h e
MANY MORE THAN Stoudenmire
and Solomon are tied to these
100 historic acres in Wilmington.
Generations have ventured to North
Carolina’s first rural cemetery, char-tered
in 1852, to feel the presence of
life after death.
The aura and scenery intertwine
with a solemn stillness. A person walk-ing
through might believe he or she
has entered a secret garden from the
19th century — until a car drives past,
a reminder that it’s actually 2017.
Stoudenmire is now a great-grandmother
and Solomon suffers
from knee problems preventing her
from longer walks, but they still come
regularly. Their dedication to Oakdale
is unmatched, almost ingrained. The
ladies drive around in Stoudenmire’s car
with hedge trimmers in tow. If there’s a
wayward bush, they take care of it.
“We ride around with clippers and
if we see something coming out of
the bushes, we get out and clip it.
Catherine will say, ‘Hit the brake!’”
They also contribute to man-agement.
Solomon served on the
Oakdale Board of Directors for more
than 30 years, many of those as
president. During most of her time,
she was the only female. She met
Stoudenmire during the transition
from the Oakdale board to Friends
of Oakdale, a nonprofit founded in
2005 to preserve and promote the
historical character of the cemetery.
Solomon was president in 1990
when the board launched a campaign
that raised more than $500,000.
Now, a new campaign seeks to raise
$1.9 million and breathe life into a
place dedicated to honoring the dead.
Local businessman Bert Williams
is spearheading the effort. Williams
has five generations of family buried
at Oakdale. He hopes the campaign
will restore the cemetery to its for-mer
glory and re-establish why it is
so special not just to Solomon and
Stoudenmire, but the entire city.