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Turlock Memorial Park prepares for future with expansion
Turlock Memorial Park is currently working on expanding the cemetery in the back lot near Canal Drive. - photo by CANDY PADILLA/The Journal

Approximately 4,000 new interment spaces spanning over four acres are currently under construction at Turlock Memorial Park and Funeral Home, although general manager Scott Atherton said that it will be quite some time before they are actually put to use.  

“What we like to do is act far enough in advance so that when we complete a new development, it can stay there undisturbed for approximately two to three years in order to fully establish lawns and landscaping before we need to really use it,” said Atherton.

“That way, when we’re actually low on available lots, we will be fully ready to move in the completed new development,” continued Atherton.

The expansion, which has been underway since spring, includes a complete circle with a set of raised planters for the burial of urns, freestanding columns, and a four-tiered water fountain at the center. According to Atherton, this circle will be named “Serenity Circle” upon completion.

 “With each new development, there are new concepts that we work on that we think the public may want in the future,” said Atherton.

“Serenity Circle” will include space for additional double garden crypts, single and double depth lots, flat markers, and single and double depth monument lots among others.

There will also be further development to the north of “Serenity Circle” up until West Canal Drive, according to Atherton.

“We try to be creative with each new development and think outside of the box,” said Atherton. “With this new development, we give the area an overall attractive look that all comes together symmetrically.”

Turlock Memorial Park and Funeral Home has been serving the memorial needs of Turlock and surrounding communities for over a century after early Californian entrepreneur and wheat farmer John W. Mitchell established the site as a cemetery in 1876.

Mitchell operated the cemetery with a small group of Turlock residents until 1885 when he deeded five acres and transferred operations to a board of directors who later formed the Turlock Cemetery Association as a nonprofit organization. Upon his death in 1893, Mitchell bequeathed an additional five acres for future cemetery development.

Those ten acres have since multiplied as Turlock Memorial Park and Funeral Home is expected to encompass a total of 50 acres upon the new development’s completion in fall, with a remaining 30 acres left to develop on in future years.