Owner Says He’s ‘Ashamed’ of Conditions at San Joaquin County Cemetery

SAN JOAQUIN COUNTY -- A cemetery in San Joaquin County has one visitor upset with the conditions of the grounds.

As Christie Gellatly looked at the grounds where five family members were buried, she likened the current condition of Farmington Memorial Cemetery to a warzone.

"It’s really sad, honestly. It breaks my heart. Like I told him, I wouldn’t even want my dogs buried here," Gellatly said. "I told my sister, I said, 'Do not bury me anywhere.' I’d soon be up on a mantle somewhere. I don’t want this to happen."

Gellatly says 10 years ago the cemetery looked similar to how it was Thursday, with brown grass and rodent holes mixing in with hidden headstones. With the private cemetery falling under new ownership since then, she hoped things would be different.

"Something needs to give. Something has to happen out here. I won’t let it rest," Gellatly told FOX40.

The owner spoke to FOX40 off camera and says he is just as upset with how the grounds look as anyone.

He took over the cemetery when the nonprofit running it collapsed in 2008. Since then, he says he has tried to keep up with maintenance without a full-time staff and little money to go around.

The owner says the cemetery averages 20 burials a year. He says he has all the sprinklers marked and is working on raising money and donations to complete the second part of an overhaul of the irrigation system.

While Gellatly says she wants the owner to sell the place so someone new can try to fix the cemetery, the owner says he plans to be buried there and will continue to fight the constant battle of being compared to cemeteries that receive hundreds of thousands in money for maintenance yearly.

The owner says the irrigation overhaul will hopefully begin in the next few weeks and numerous times reiterated that he is very upset with how the grounds look as well, saying, "I’m ashamed of it but I’m not ashamed of what I’ve done."