Fixing a Kramer Gravestone

It was the summer of 2018 when Kramer and I drove through Stewartville, MN on the way to one of my doctor appointments when we stopped at the cemetery.  Both sets of Kramer’s grandparents are buried in the cemetery there.

We’d visited a few times before but not super often.  When we were there, we were disappointed to see that his Grandma Kramer’s headstone had gradually sunk and wasn’t sitting straight.

Kramer talked that he would like to fix that.  It was late summer and harvest was coming soon so like many farmers, he put it on his list to take care of the following summer when he had time.

When 2019 hit, Kramer was diagnosed with lung cancer and passed away before the summer came when he was going to fix the stone.  Now it was too late.

That all has been nagging on me.  Being I was the one left and I knew this was his wish that this stone be fixed, I decided to do something about it.  The problem, I didn’t know what…or how.

I didn’t know if being I was an “in-law” of a grandson if this was my place to do this.  No direct children are living so care would move to the grandchildren…but still I was an in-law.  I didn’t want to ruffle any feathers.

I ended up talking to Kayla’s husband Spencer and to our son Buck.  Both agreed no one would care and no one really “owns” the plot so they told me I might as well ask for forgiveness over permission.

So, over the weekend Buck, Karl and I traveled to the cemetery in Stewartville and fixed their Great Grandma’s headstone.  This is how it looked.  You can see the KRAMER stone in the back.  In the front are Kasjen and Dena’s headstones.  You can see Dena’s stone was sinking.


Buck started out peeling away the sod.

Then Karl started from the other direction.


The boys were able to get under it with a spade.


Then they got a crow bar that they used as kids for picking rock out in the field.  While Karl held the bar, Buck poored a bag of pea gravel under the headstone.


Buck checked it but it still needed a little more lift so they lifted it again and put the sod pieces under the headstone too.


Here is how it ended up looking.  The headstone is level now and looks MUCH better.  Kramer would be pleased.  This is what he had hoped to do.

We aren’t completely happy with the stones yet.  They have that mold stuff that gravestones often get.  I ordered some stuff to put on them to spruce them up.  It’s call D/2 Biological Solution.  I have doctor appointments in Rochester in July.  I’ll stop by and see if I can clean them then.

The job didn’t take long at all.  I’m glad I have a couple of strapping boys with muscle and know-how to do these types of jobs.  I really had no idea it would have been as easy as it was.

While we were there, I showed the boys the gravestones of their Henke grandparents.  Their stone is just a row or so back from the Kramers.  It was nice to have a chance to see them both.

It was kind of fitting that we did this over Father’s Day weekend.  There really isn’t anything we can do for Kramer anymore.  It was great to know we could at least carry out one of his wishes.

It was also very fitting that Buck was one of the people who fixed it.  I always get asked how is Buck’s name Buck when all of our other kids have “K” names.  Buck’s real name is Kasjen.  He’s named after his great grandpa Kasjen Kramer.  Kasjen was married to Dean….so the headstone we fixed was Buck’s namesake’s wife.

24 thoughts on “Fixing a Kramer Gravestone

  1. NJ

    We noticed a small headstone tipped backwards. She was our great great grandmother so we moved it off and poured a new base. Like you, it fell on us if it would be set upright. It turned out so nice & she’s good for another 100 years. This was our project during Covid lockdown. Now we are going to put markers on 2 more unmarked graves when it cools down.

    Reply
  2. Lori Douglas

    Glad you were able to fix the headstone! I had to take a double take on Karl’s pic with the spade under the headstone. He looks so much like Roger!
    Roger would be proud that you carried out his wishes!

    Reply
  3. Maxine

    I always feel better when I know that I have accomplished something that my parents had wanted to do but ran out of time to get the job done. Or when I accomplish something h that would have made my parents proud that I had done the job.

    Reply
    1. Jo Post author

      We pronounce it cash ‘en. It’s an old German name. I’m sure in Germany it’s pronounced differently.

      Reply
    2. Peggy

      I just ordered “Wet and Go” thru Amazon. My Mom’s headstone has Lichen growing on it and is almost covering up the name. Hope it works. Let us know how the product you ordered works too.

      Reply
  4. Margie

    That is wonderful you were able to fulfill a wish of your husband’s. You have such a wonderful support system with your family. Family means everything!

    Reply
  5. Judith M Fairchild

    It was great that you and the boys got Dena’s head stone back up where it belongs. Well done.

    Reply
  6. Jill

    My husband and I hired the cleaning of his brother, sister, and his parents in our local cemetery. Then they cleaned my parents stone. It looked so much better and so happy we did it.

    Reply
  7. Julie Thomas

    This warmed my heart. Such a sweet gesture. What a wonderful way to pay tribute to your husband and their dad. It says a lot about your family that the boys wanted to help also. You raised great kids.

    Reply
  8. Linda

    We once went to my parent’s grave site to find my mom’s headstone completely missing. We asked the caretakers and they said it had been removed as the concrete had been broken and was a danger to the mower. They said they had tried to call but no reply. I said they were callib g my dad and he is laying next to her so he wasn’t answering his phone. We paid to have it replaced and they called us to let us know it was finished. They did a wonderful job. We couldn’t do the work ourselves as it is a veteran’s cemetery. But that was a weird feeling to find my mom’s headstone missing.

    Reply
  9. Glenda Fletcher

    Such a very good Fathers day. As Lori said Roger would be very proud of Buck, Karl, and you for carrying out his wish. They are such great sons. We go to our grandsons ball games too. Always fun for us. They will start football practice in August. Very hot here. I think Sioux Falls hit 100 yesterday in the north part.

    Reply
  10. The Joyful Quilter

    What a wonderful thing you and “the boys” did for the family plot, Jo! I feel fortunate that my cousins visit our family graves and take care of things when necessary. I don’t think any of Roger’s family would be displeased with the job you guys did.

    Reply
  11. Janet Rice

    What a great Father’s Day to honor Kramer’s wish to have the headstone straightened. The boys did a great job!

    Reply
  12. Connie

    We use the product Wet It and Forget It. It may take awhile for it to work, but we used it on my husband’s stone as well as my parent’s stone. It eventually took off all the moss and other gunk on the stones.

    Reply
  13. Margaret in North Texas

    So happy for you that you got a wish completed for Kramer! Thanks Kasjen and Karl for helping Mom!

    Reply
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  15. Teresa F.

    Jo – please check with your local monument dealer/salesperson before you use any product on a granite or marble gravestone. There are some products that will ruin it. Most monument dealers have products that will clean stones or they will clean it for you, especially if the stone was purchased from them.
    Also, the cemetery sexton could have raised and leveled the foundation for you. If not, then the person who poured the foundation could do it.

    Teresa F. (wife of a monument business owner)

    Reply
  16. Kris in WI

    Bless the boys for carrying out their father’s wish. You have an incredible family, Jo. Thank you for giving us a chance to know them.

    Reply
  17. Kim from TN

    What a wonderful thing to do over Father’s Day weekend. The stone looks so much better, and I think Kramer would be pleased that it got done. It’s always so sad to see some of the headstones in cemeteries looking so poorly and unkept. Nicely done Jo.

    Reply
  18. Shirley

    I also use wet and forget to clean headstones. It does not harm the stones. Just dilute it according to directions and spray it on. I used it on some stones that were over 100 years old and they are readable again.

    I think it is wonderful that your family did this. One sees so many neglected grave sites in the cemetery.

    Reply
  19. Nancy White

    I’m so glad that you could complete a wish that your husband had with the help of your sons. You have a wonderful family and I’m sure that you all felt happy with a good deed done.

    Reply

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