“Gone But Not Forgotten” at Oak Grove Cemetery

The Conway High School Drama Department, under the direction of A. J. Spiridigliozzi, and the Oak Grove Cemetery Board will present “Gone, But Not Forgotten” at the cemetery on Sunday, October 21, 3-5 p.m. A short dedication ceremony will also be held for the new columbarium.

Volunteer tour guides will lead visitors through various stations in the cemetery where the drama students will present short vignettes of several Conway notables who are buried in Oak Grove Cemetery. There are a number of community leaders buried in the cemetery but this year, the students have chosen to focus on these:

  • James Douglas “Justice Jim” Johnson (1924-2010)
  • Virginia Lillian Morris Johnson (1928-2007)
  • Guy H. “Mutt” Jones (1911-1986)
  • Elizabeth Relyea Jones (1916-2003)
  • Judge Russell C. Roberts (1910-1980)
  • Ida Marie Belk West (1926-2014)
  • Benton Turner (1836-1901)
  • Mary Thayer Turner (1859-1930)
  • Edward Munro Merriman (1843-1917)

The event is free, but donations are encouraged. The intent of the event is to allow the public to learn more about local people of the past who made a significant contribution to the development of Conway. Each tour will last approximately 45 minutes.

“This has been a great opportunity for our students,” said Spiridigliozzi. “They researched their historical person, wrote the scripts and designed the costumes. They have learned more about all aspects of theater plus it has allowed them to learn more about the history of Conway.”

Board members and volunteers will greet visitors as they arrive at the cemetery and direct them to parking and the welcome desk where the tours will begin. The tour guides will provide historical background on Conway and Oak Grove Cemetery as they lead the groups.

Oak Grove Cemetery is located at the east end of Bruce Street just south of the old airport. It was established in 1880 on the south edge of town in a grove of oak trees. Most of Conway’s leading citizens from its earliest era, as well as about 100 Civil War soldiers, both Union and Confederate, are interred along with veterans of other wars. The historic section of the cemetery was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2009.

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