There are several cemeteries in Billings but not one in the Heights, until Thursday. Members of the Atonement Lutheran Church have worked over three years for this to come to fruition.
Heights resident Marilyn Franklin gathered with other community members to watch as their new columbarium was put in place.
“I’m just so excited, if I got an hour of sleep last night that’s probably exaggerating,” said Franklin, a member of the columbarium committee.
A large crane slowly and cautiously lifted up the 10,800-ton piece of granite. A public cemetery is now available to residents of the Heights.
The columbarium contains 100 niches that will hold the urns of ashes. Community members have been waiting months, even years for the columbarium to arrive.
“My husband died a year ago on Nov. 9, and we had already had our niche purchased because this has been in the process for several years. But now having a place to put his ashes is very dear to my heart,” said Franklin.
Janie Fitch-Danielsen is also a member of the columbarium committee of Atonement Lutheran.
“We already have three members of Atonement Lutheran that have lost family members, and when the niches unwrap today, those three niche fronts will already be engraved,” said Fitch-Danielsen.
The columbarium is located between Atonement Lutheran Church and St. John’s United Wyndstone. However, you don’t have to belong to those communities to reserve a niche.
“The only rule that we have is that you believe in the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,” said Franklin.
Franklin feels at peace knowing her husband Darrell will lay at rest in his new home.
“It will be great to have him so close by,” said Franklin.