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Headstone of 15-year-old killed by train & buried in Ripon Cemetery is back in place
ripon headstone
Jim Brynson recently repaired the headstone at the Ripon Cemetery belonging to Daniel Enoch Funk.

Dave Hollander oversees the operations at the historic Ripon Cemetery.

He took over back in March from Gordon Vander Veen, who retired from the position after 51 years.

Vander Veen is also listed as the chief financial officer for the local cemetery.

"I have some big shoes to fill," said Hollander on Tuesday.

He recently came up with a stunning find of an old discarded headstone belonging to Daniel Enoch Funk, who died on May 9, 1881 at age 15 after being struck by a train in the Ripon area.

"A very nice white marble headstone marked his grave very near the gate on Stockton Avenue," Hollander said.

The discovery of the 142-year-old headstone occurred in late May. Work was being done to the old maintenance building that required the digging of a trench for the electrical hookup necessary for an air conditioning unit in what will be Hollander's new office.

Buried underneath for almost a century ago was the headstone.

"Sometime in early 1900s, the headstone was damaged. It was broken in three pieces -- two large and one small piece.

"Headstones were the family's responsibility, and cemetery caretaker was unable to locate the family to repair or replace the headstone. He buried the three pieces in a hole behind the maintenance shed," said Hollander, who has been involved with the Ripon Cemetery for the past seven years.

Jim Brynson stepped up, having the experience of repairing headstones from historic cemeteries including the one in the Tuolumne County gold-rush town of Jamestown.

The headstone is on the mend and back in the family plot of the old section of the cemetery.

Hollander pointed out nearby at the oldest headstone of what was once known as the Ripon Graveyard.

That one belonged to 14-month-old Luiza M. Roberts, who died on Feb. 24, 1861.

All part of the cemetery's rich history, Hollander said.