GILBERT — Despite having no family buried in the local cemetery, one man took it upon himself to see the rock archway at Hollywood Cemetery repaired.
Denver Stacy, of Gilbert, told the Daily News that his father built a home adjacent to the cemetery. He said that his father had always wanted to fix the archway as it began to sink. But before he could ever repair it, Denver’s father died.
Before that, however, Denver made a promise to his father that he would repair the archway.
He said that the archway was built by the grandfather of Richard Ellis, a man whom Denver considered one of Gilbert’s found fathers, Leander, who was born in 1856. The archway was initially believed to be hundreds of years of old.
After a few years of putting off the repairs, Denver recently decided to get the project going when Richard said that he would like to see his grandfather’s archway repaired.
“I really wanted to do it for Richard and the town,” Denver said.
Along with his uncle, Ralph Trent and stonemason Jackie Horn and his assistants, from Pineville, Denver and the crew quickly repaired the archway.
As work was being completed, Denver discovered the year 1932 embedded on one of the pieces of the archway, along with Leander’s name. Denver deduced that the archway must have functioned like a headstone for Leander, since he died that same year. That would date the archway to roughly 80 years old.
The newly-repaired wall now stands in all its glory, “nice and square now,” Denver said. A ribbon cutting is planned to be held, but no date has been set in stone.
While Denver and Ralph donated their time and labor to the project, the stonemason did not. If anyone would like to donate to the Hollywood Cemetery Arch Fund, they can do so at the Bank of Mingo.
Mayor Vivian Livingood commended Denver for his work, saying that she found it “really amzing that people could give their time and resources,” to a project like this.
“I know it will please Richard,” Vivian said. “It’s nice they did this.”
Denver just said he was happy to give back to the community
“Me and my wife have been here 31 years,” Denver said. “It’s been a good time and I want to give back.”