One of New Canaan’s most venerable and important organizations has launched a new online channel in order to make it easier for people to pay respects to lost loved ones.
Lakeview Cemetery’s revamped website now allows visitors to purchase floral arrangements, holiday wreaths and power-washing services for tombstones and mausoleums, and its staff will send photos to users after services have been rendered.
Kelly Robb, office manager at the cemetery, said board members of the New Canaan Cemetery Association, a nonprofit organization that owns the 41-acre property together with individual plot owners, along with staff, identified a need among survivors and friends of those interred in Lakeview who have moved away or are otherwise unable to visit the property.
“We are just trying to make it convenient and easier for people to order for their loved ones and even friends of the family, as a gift for them,” Robb said. “And to bring them peace of mind.”
New Canaan’s Peter Passaro, who took over as superintendent of the cemetery from Bo Hickey five years ago, said that although the new e-commerce channel only launched recently, it’s already seeing strong interest.
“It’s really an extra service that a lot of cemeteries don’t provide,” Passaro said.
Established in 1876, Lakeview Cemetery is one of New Canaan’s most cherished and historic sites. An estimated 1,500 people are interred throughout its park-like grounds. Passaro said about 100 people are buried there annually and the cemetery is decades away from reaching maximum capacity.
Lakeview Avenue appears on mid-nineteenth-century maps as ‘Cemetery Avenue,’ historians say, and then as ‘Cemetery Street,’ the name it kept until 1914 or later when the lake in the cemetery gave both the cemetery and the road their names
Today, Lakeview Cemetery is the site of funerals and daily visits from loved ones as well as New Canaan’s well-attended annual Memorial Day service. It’s the final resting place of many prominent residents. Through volunteer efforts led each year by VFW Post 653, flags are placed by the gravestones of those who served in the U.S. Armed Forces, and wreaths between Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Bailey Stewart, president of the New Canaan Cemetery Association’s board, said the organization is hoping that e-commerce channel makes it easier for people who sign up for email reminders of special dates, such as a loved one’s birthday, to click through and purchase flowers or other services for burial sites. Holiday floral options currently include log box, great and grave pillow.
The new services offered through the Lakeview Cemetery website already are seeing use among the survivors of those interred, including in Stewart’s own family, he said.
“My sister who lives in Florida and North Carolina, she was a part of New Canaan for years and years, and our parents are buried there, and she was one of first ones to put a wreath on my mother’s grave from Florida without having to travel up here,” he said.
“This opens up another avenue of service and remembrance for people that have really great memories,” Stewart added.