CHICAGO – Just less than a year after the Cemetery Oversight Act licensing and regulatory requirements took effect, Acting Secretary of Financial and Professional Regulation Manuel Flores and Division of Professional Regulation Director, Jay Stewart, visited several Chicago area cemeteries, including the Burr Oak Cemetery. Other cemeteries visited by Secretary Flores and Director Stewart included St. Casimirs Cemetery, South Chapel Hill Garden Cemetery and Mount Hope Cemetery. The tragedy at Burr Oak was the event that prompted Governor Quinn to spearhead the Cemetery Oversight Act’s creation.
Licensing for cemeteries in Illinois began on July 1, 2012 and IDFPR has received more than 3600 applications from cemeteries across the state. Not only did this create the first state-wide data base of Illinois cemeteries, it puts those cemeteries on notice they must meet some minimum standards for customer treatment, maintenance and oversight of employees.
The Cemetery Oversight Act also requires Illinois cemeteries to record burials, with the name, date and plot number. Since the data base began accepting records, almost 158,000 entries have been made. In the future, families will be able to obtain the exact location of loved ones remains if they know the name of the cemetery and provide the name of the deceased.
For any complaints or concerns consumers can contact the IDFPR Cemetery Consumer line at 1-888-756-8331.
Acting Secretary Manuel Flores; Antoinette Wright (Midwest African American Heritage Preservation Network); David Moore, Burr Oak Cemetery new construction foreman; Zenobia Johnson-Black, Burr Oak Cemetery Committee interested citizen member; Jay Stewart; Roman Szabelski, former Burr Oak Cemetery Receiver, Executive Director, Catholic Cemeteries of Chicago; Kevin Carter, Burr Oak Cemetery Management; Willie Carter, Burr Oak Cemetery Management