At our public meetings, there were some who wanted to address the many expressed concerns about the Cemetery either by filing a lawsuit or by requesting an investigation by the Attorney General into the conduct of the Willow Wild Cemetery Commission since its inception in 1878.
Others thought it best that we avoid conflict and attempt to work together with the entities involved toward a mutually agreeable approach for transferring operation of the Cemetery from the Commission to a Corporation. The Board of Willow Wild Cemetery Association, Inc. chose to take the latter course because the goal was to create a community-based organization to operate and maintain the Cemetery and to do so as efficiently as possible.
Representatives from the Masons and Odd Fellows (and their various lodges) were present at most, if not all, of the organizational meetings, enthusiastically endorsed formation of the proposed non-profit Cemetery corporation, and welcomed the opportunity of transferring responsibility to that Corporation. Subsequently, based on the expressed consensus of the parties involved, our attorney, Bill Terry, worked with all the parties involved in preparation of the documents necessary to create the Willow Wild Cemetery Association, Inc., as proposed.
The appropriate representatives of the Masons and Odd Fellows (Constantine Lodge #13 AF&AM, Wildey Lodge #21 IOOF, and Grand Lodge of Texas, IOOF) approved and signed documentation to effect the transfer of Willow WIld Cemetery to the Corporation as agreed but, for reasons unknown to us, the Willow Wild Cemetery Commission refused to sign the documents.
The Commission has now filed a petition with the District Court, 336th Judicial District, initiating a process of discovery to determine if any cause might exist to justify the filing of a lawsuit by the Commission against the newly formed non-profit cemetery corporation.
The Willow Wild Cemetery Association, Inc. Board was given notice that all Commission board members would be resigning effective December 31, 2012 and that the Commission was requesting that Constantine Lodge and Wildey Lodge appoint a new Commission board to effect the proposed transfer of the Cemetery to the Willow Wild Cemetery Association, Inc. but it is not clear to us why this same Commission has now filed these proceedings. The Corporate board has at all times acted in the belief that it had the blessing and support of the Oddfellows and Masonic lodges whose predecessors established the Commission in 1878 and under whose authority the Commission has operated Willow Wild Cemetery since its inception.
While we have preferred a more straightforward, non-contentious approach, this legal inquiry and fact-finding process is welcomed, and we believe the light of day shining on all of us will be a positive development. It will also allow us to elicit information as to whether and how the Commission has performed its duties in conformance with the 1878 charter. We are concerned about the possible confusion that may result as to who is and is not taking care of the Cemetery during this legal process because the growing season is upon us and it is important that there be no interruption in the mowing, maintenance, and operation of the Cemetery and it is our hope that the Commission will meet its obligation in regard to the Cemetery during this process. In the interim, all concerns about maintenance should be addressed to the Commission or to the respective lodges (Constantine Lodge #13 AF&AM and Wildey Lodge #21 IOOF) if a replacement board for the Commission has not been or will not be appointed.
We are confident that operation of the Cemetery will soon be entrusted to those most able and willing to provide the maintenance and operation that Willow Wild Cemetery deserves. Until that time, Willow Wild Cemetery Association, Inc. remains dedicated to its only desire and corporate purpose, which is to serve the families of those whose final resting place is in this Cemetery and to honor the memory of their departed loved ones.