Riverside Cemetery flooded, families play waiting game to find out damage done

MAUMEE, Ohio (WTVG) - 1,300 people are buried at Riverside Cemetery.

Like Jennifer Hartley's mother, Karen. She died a few years ago from a heart attack.

"It's hard. I may be 36 but you always need your mom and it was kind of sudden," said Jennifer.

Jan Buehrer has several family members laid to rest here. Including her aunt, her Grandma Isabelle and Grandpa Thomas.

"Unfortunately they both died in their 40s of cancer just nine months apart. So, my dad had to quit school and take care of his younger siblings and so I never knew my grandparents...We visited here a lot. We always came out and checked their grave and stopped and talked to them, but I never really knew them," shared Jan.

Jennifer's family picked Riverside because her parents loved spending time in Side Cut Metropark. But, they knew this is a floodplain.

"The thought of the casket sitting in water makes you uneasy, but there's nothing that can be done about it. I mean it's not like it's the cemetery's fault or the city's fault," said Jennifer.

Jan has been through this before. Decades ago she climbed over ice searching for her loved one's graves. In 2015, chunks of ice pushed tombstones as far as 20 yards away.

"We don't think it's as bad this year as it was back in 2015. So, I'm sure there's going to be some stones that need to be up righted again and we will take care of that," said Maumee Police sergeant Andrew Dean.

Thursday Maumee Police posted a video on Facebook showing tombstones covered by flood waters, which block the roads leading to the burial ground. As of Saturday, Sgt. Dean didn't know the depth of the water, but knew it "went down quite a bit."

Massive boulders of ice blocked parts of River Road. About a mile away from the cemetery is as close as you can get. The extent of damage won't be known until the water recedes and city crews can check.

"I want to go visit her, but I'll just wait until they say it's OK and the roads open again and then I'll go see what's left," said Jennifer.

"It's kind of concerning, but it's a part of living along the river or being laid to rest along the river. Mother nature is going to win any way you look at it," said Jan.

No matter the damage, the memories of those resting at Riverside will never be washed away.