[ Log In ]
Cemetery Relocation and Family Assistance


"Just wanted to send a big Thank-You to the O’Hare Modernization Program for assisting us in the process of reinterment of our family members.

Although the process was somewhat tedious and ongoing due to outside intervention, we were happy that things went so smoothly towards the end. Your compassion for working with the families was in my opinion over and above. We had some special requests and you honored them. Again, thank you so much for all your help with this transition."

James and Linda Clucas

"For the past three years I have been in repeated contact with the City of Chicago regarding the removal and re-interment of seventeen ancestors of my family line from St. Johannes Cemetery. The professionalism, respect and reverence with which I have been given from the City are really commendable.

I wish to thank everyone at the Chicago Department of Aviation and Commissioner Rosemarie S. Andolino.

It has been truly satisfying and spiritually comforting."

Sandra L Toussaint

"I have commented repeatedly on how great the City of Chicago has been regarding St. Johannes Cemetery relocation. Although the reinterment process for my family members has not yet been completed, I have nothing but great things to say regarding this process. My questions and concerns have always been addressed promptly.

I myself will be extremely happy the day all of the graves at St. Johannes have been moved to a peaceful resting place."

Mary Leske

Thank you so much for all your efforts to make the disinterment day of our grandmother Malinda so special. Everything went so beautifully. We were truly pleased with the way everything was handled.

Thank you for all your care and concern, you made a difficult time much easier.

With gratitude,
Maureen Thompson

"On Feb. 15th, five of my relatives were moved from St. Johannes Cemetery to Elm Lawn. I would like to thank you for the sensitive and professional way this was done.

Even though I had hoped that we would not have to move my family, or was hoping the cemetery could be moved as a whole, this was not to be. You were excellent at keeping me aware of everything that was happening, answering any questions and fielding problems that arose.

You helped connect me with family members to help make sure that my family was moved as a whole and not scattered in different cemeteries. This is very important to me and I am grateful you fulfilled my wishes."

Barbara Palla

"The City of Chicago’s people and contractors were professional and compassionate in doing their work – Melody Carvajal’s staff, the archeologists, the retired judge serving as special master to assure the law is being followed, the Chicago Police Department and Department of Aviation Police. There are a lot of good people around.

It isn’t often that I get this kind of experience – not only to be served but to be so richly rewarded."

Sincerely yours,
Joel W. Chrastka, Deacon
Funeral Speaker & Eulogist

"I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Department of Aviation for the respectful and kind treatment of my family currently interred in St. Johannes Cemetery. I want to commend these people for the reverent manner in which they are helping to move my family. Everything has been done to exceed my expectations.

I always wanted to know where my family was to be interred, and the department went the “extra mile” to make that happen for me and did so in a manner to me and my family’s satisfaction."

Respectfully yours,
Nancy Holich

"Well over a year ago, our family was notified that our ancestors who have been interred in St. Johannes Cemetery for the past 50-100 years would have to be disinterred, moved and reinterred.We were worried, fretted and quite uneasy about the entire process. Add to that a little anger. As the plans for the project progressed….Melody Carvajal very gently explained the situation in simple terms and assured all of us how things would be done and that our relatives/ancestors and the entire process would be handled with respect, dignity and almost the same as if this was the first time buried. As promised our wishes were all carried through on June 27th. Melody and Sue [The Louis Berger Group] greeted us at St. Johannes and stayed with us the entire day…It was fascinating listening to Melody and Sue tell us about our family’s history & things that we never knew. … I truly believe our experience was extremely well handled, went very smoothly & exceeded our expectations as a positive event because of these two magnificent women. They turned our little bit of negativity into a 100% positive attitude change…it was truly a privilege to have these two women represent our ancestors for this historic and momentous occasion."

All the best regards,
Ellen Fuhrman

"On behalf of our family we wish to express our thanks and appreciation for the work preformed by Melody on behalf of the CDA…she exhibited a high degree of professionalism at all times and dealt with the emotional and spiritual needs of the family involved in the relocation of remains from St. Johannes Cemetery."

"We have been in contact with other family members working with the CDA and each ones story is unique, but from what we have been told, despite the emotional travails, all are satisfied with how things were handled in the resolution of the lengthy court case."

"We are confident knowing things will continue to be handled well…"

-Frederick Joss Harbecke
-Laura Harbecke Valvo

"Our experience with the Family Assistance Office has been nothing but positive. They went to great lengths to meet our wishes. They were ALWAYS prompt in getting back to us and ALWAYS followed through on their word. Even taking the initiative to follow up to see that things were handled to our satisfaction. They were nothing but patient, comforting and kind in helping us work through…"

-The Edwin Runge Family

"The Family Assistance Office Staff involved with this effort have been very cooperative and forth coming in the information they provided me and showed great sensitivity and concerns for my feelings and the manner in which they intended to handle the dis/re-interment of graves…My wife and I were both very impressed with their dedication to performing their jobs in an accurate and respectful manner. They are sensitive, concerned people trying their best to respect the family’s wishes while performing their job."

-Name withheld by family’s request

"On behalf of my family, I want to thank you for connecting us to relatives we did not know even existed. Having our family together is actually a comfort. The small service and the flowers made this very touching. Thank you for being there with me."

-Karen Shuput and Glen Grischow

"We would like to recognize all those involved in the disinterment and reinternment of my family members for their attention to detail, care and compassion. The company [Louis Berger] handling the disinterment was able to locate a headstone of one of our family members who had not been properly memorialized. Working with such an honest, accommodating, and professional team was impressive. These people did for my family something we would never have been able to do ourselves."

-Wiemerslage-Emerson Family

"We can’t say thank you enough for all the team did for our family with the cemetery move. You gave us support from the beginning to the end, we truly appreciate that."

-Yazel Family

"I am writing this letter to both say thank you and to let you know what excellent staff you have. On Wednesday, January 26, 2011 Melody Carvajal from the CDA Family Assistance Office called to inform me that the city now owned the property and we could go ahead with the disinterment. We had begun the paperwork for the relocation process in early 2010; it was a long, painful year for us. Throughout that time, Melody was our anchor. She gave us emotional support, kept us up to date on events, put us in contact with others in the same situation and was there for us when we needed her. Melody arranged everything for us, not just the disinterment. She had Mothers ashes brought to St. Johannes so they could be combined with Dad’s ashes and the baby’s remains. The family had chosen to bury the three together in the same coffin. The disinterment was nicely done. I had been told that the Louis Berger Group is the best in the country. I believe it. Unearthing Dad was relatively easy as he had died in 1990 and his ashes were intact. The baby was more problematic as he died at birth in 1942. No one knew how he had been buried, and the grave was unmarked. I remembered that this grave was on one side of an ancestral tombstone. The professionals from the Louis Berger Group carefully dug along the tombstone, mostly with a trawl, until they found him. They found that he had been buried in a wooden coffin. The baby’s remains were carefully gathered and placed in a new coffin with a teddy bear as well as Mom and Dad’s ashes. Their work was professional, respectful and compassionate. Melody made all the arrangements for transportation and burial at Eden. There were even flowers. Although it was a sad occasion, it was a good day for my family. We thank you."

-Ms. June Runge Gengler

"I would like to take this moment to thank the City of Chicago for everything it has done for me regarding the disinterment and reinterment of my baby brother, Richard Winkelman. The folks working over there in the CDA Family Assistance office really went above and beyond the call of duty during the entire process. The staff was very supportive and had the best interest of my family at heart."

-Roy H. Winkelman