Family members join in on the effort to restore Westview Cemetery

The family of WWI Veteran Mack Lonnie Hicks worked to repair his grave. 

The mission to restore Westview Cemetery on Halifax Road in South Hill continues to gain traction as more family members become involved.

All Saint’s Veterans Fellowship Ministries began working to clean up the graves last year after the group was created through All Saint’s Episcopal Church as a way to give back to the community.

Their mission caught the attention of Crowder, Hite, Crews Funeral Home, who then volunteered to repair 85% of the cemetery damages at no cost to the plot owners or the community.

Not long after, James Jefferson, Owner and Operator of Southside Grave and Vault Services, agreed to assist Crowder, Hite, Crews by lifting a 1500-pound headstone belonging to Reverend Doctor Henry T. Butler.

More recently, the great niece of World War I Veteran, Mack Lonnie Hicks got in contact with Patricia Shepherd, a member of the All Saint’s Veterans Fellowship Ministries. The two discussed options for getting the grave, then sunken into the ground, restored to its original form.

“Mr. Harris, the funeral home director in Clarksville, put us in touch with Mr. Terry, who owns Gravedigger & Sons. I mentioned the grave and the descendent to him and he took it upon himself to go out and look at the grave and give me a price to give to her. I put them in contact with each other and they agreed upon the price and he did the work on Thursday, July 15,” said Shepherd.

Though Crowder, Hite, Crews helped by cutting back the limbs that covered the grave, Shepherd and Hick’s great-niece are currently seeking options for removing the tree completely. “I talked to another one of my customers who is passionate about cemetery preservation and he has offered to do it. I’m going to get them in touch with each other so they can work out the particulars,” says Shepherd.

Shepherd said that she had made plans to re-brick the area surrounding the grave of Reverend Doctor Henry Butler, but found that the family had already stepped in and done the work.

Today the grave of Mack Hicks has been fully restored. The World War I Veteran was the son of George Hicks and Hattie Hudgins. He married Portia Mangum and the pair had three children, Gilberta Grace, Myrtle, and Willie Mack. He was inducted into the 808 Pioneer Infantry on July 29, 1918 at age 23. He served until he was honorably discharged and worked as a mechanic after returning home.