By Mike Steely

Senior Writer

Russell Kuhlman, president of the Old Gray Board of Trustees, noted the many improvements and restorations at Old Gray Cemetery this past year.

In a letter to friends of the cemetery, Kuhlman said generous donations led to the improvements at the gatehouse that included roof and chimney repairs. Interior plaster was repaired and freshly painted.

“The exterior was painted and pressure washed,” he said, adding that this past year was a return to “some normality” with Easter Sunrise Services and other annual events being held.

The cemetery’s Lantern and Carriage Tours were reimagined with the theme, “The Spirit of Old Gray.” The event included re-enactors, two food trucks, wine and beer, face painting and tours led by Laura Still and Jack Neely. More than 400 people attended.

Kuhlman said the cemetery’s security has improved although it continues to deal with littering. Increased security this coming year will include replacing the last original fence in the back of the cemetery and he said the board is considering barbed wire where appropriate. He said private security is the board’s largest expenditure

A historic marker honoring Lizzie Crozier French was placed last year and Kuhlman credited the Cavett Station Daughters of the American Revolution, the General Federation of Women’s Clubs, and local artist Mary Ruden. The marker noted the 100th Anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment and French’s leadership in the state’s adoption.

Executive Director Ruthie Kuhlman was commended by the board president for her ongoing commitment to Old Gray. She planted a ring of yellow rose bushes around the Allen Fountain and tended them through dry weather.

“Please consider Old Gray Cemetery in your yearend donations,” Kuhlman requested.

Donations can be mailed to Old Gray Cemetery, 543 North Broadway, Knoxville, Tn 37917, Post Office Box 806. You may also call the cemetery at (865) 522-1424 or find them at