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wants families to protect ‘mark on history’

to share insights about tombstones

Published: Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT

COAL CITY – John Persic’s interest in genealogy began in 2003, when he started helping his cousin organize and distribute a family quarterly newsletter. Little did he know he would become well-versed in tombstones.

Persic, now the Will-Grundy Genealogical Society publications chairman, will give the evening’s program “History of Them Thar Tombstones,” when the group holds its monthly meeting at 10 a.m. Sept. 14 at the Coal City Public Library, 85 N. Garfield St., Coal City. 

All members and guests are welcome. Refreshments will be served during the break.

Persic was born in Oak Park and moved to Wilmington in 1960, where he has lived ever since. He is the father of three and grandfather of five. John has been employed by the Rovanco Piping Co. in Joliet for 35 years.

He gained interest in cemeteries in 2004 when his genealogy travels took him to Cincinnati, Ohio, where he did research on his grandfather, Thomas Brown, and Brown’s wife, Catherine Brown.

Upon finding Catherine’s tombstone, he was shocked to see the old white marble stone in such sad condition. Despite the fact that it was not badly broken or crumbling, he decided to learn how to clean and repair tombstones. Since then, he has improved the appearance of many such markers.

John has since learned that tombstones have more than people underneath them. They mark the history of the family that is buried there and the community they represent.

“History of Them Thar Tombstones” will hopefully give participants a sense of how a family lived, participated in their community and made their mark on history. This program will, hopefully, provide people with insight into their own family and what lies beneath their tombstones.

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