President’s Message


An excellent year was marred by the loss of three of our most active and valued Board members:

Shepherd Holcombe our Chairman and founder who provided us with energetic leadership and direction, acted as a source for new ideas and prodded us to become pro-active in many diverse areas.

Harmon Leete, our legal consultant, Chair of our Hooker Award program and always a volunteer when and where needed.

Marty Flanders with her irrepressible personality, her generosity, her vast energy and enthusiasm and her wise comments and input.

We must not grieve too excessively, for they would not approve, but in their honor and memory, we must continue our work to make the Ancient Burying Ground one of the preeminent historical sites in Connecticut.

Recognizing the massive task of replacing the vacuum left by these losses, we have engaged, through the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, a consultant who has met with Board members, reviewed our documents, and will provide us with a comprehensive analysis of our strengths and weaknesses and make recommendations for our long range planning. We are also working with Leadership Greater Hartford to strengthen our Board by identifying young and diverse Board candidates.

Our Treasurer will report on our financial condition and you will hear that our assets have reached historic levels, our portfolio’s performance has been excellent and we are able to dedicate significant sums to stone replication and repair.

Our relationship with the City of Hartford has been excellent as we move toward working with them to implement our Master Landscape an Sculpture Plans. Work will commence on replacing our rear wall restoration project in three to four weeks, and requests for proposals to address our drainage problem and landscape enhancements have gone out. The City is dedicating over $800,000 to fund these projects, allowing us to conserve our assets for other important activities.

Despite a Summer with oppressive heat and humidity our Summer Tour Guides Program, under the direction of Andrea Ader continued to flourish. The number of Guides, recruited from Hartford Middle Schools, was increased to eight. In addition to conducting tours, guides learned about the history of the Burying Ground and Hartford and developed specific tour guide skills. They also visited the Wadsworth Atheneum, the Old State House, the State Capitol,Webb house, Center Church, the Butler-McCook house and the City and State Libraries. Tours were conducted for 447 people from 27 states and eight foreign countries. The program received support from the Hartford Foundation, the Mortensen Foundation, R.M. Bradley (parking), the Travelers (umbrellas), and Center Church (facilities).

Andrea is facing other commitments this year and will not be returning as coordinator. We will miss her. In her place we have retained Cheryl Thomas, a teacher at Hartford Magnet School, who also has two Masters degrees and a Bachelor of Architecture degree. We believe she is well qualified for the Coordinator position.

We honored Nancy Macy and Robert L. Painter, MD with the 2012 Hooker Award. The presentation, followed by a reception was held at the Connecticut Historical Society. This was the 25th Awards presentation and was one of the better attended in recent memory. John Avignon did his usual fine coordination of the event.

We are seeking to update our Web Page to include current activities. We now have a Facebook page receiving frequent visits.

In the face of adversity, we end the year with a determination to strengthen our Board, to tighten our organizational procedures, to continue our meaningful programs and to implement our Master Plans. We will do our best to fulfill the hopes and expectations of those Board members who have left us. Our Association is strong and we look forward to a bright and productive future.

Thank all of you for your very substantial contributions to the success of our Association.

Robert Hill, President, ABGA