40 years of care

ARVIS AND JERRY BAAS teamed up to take care of Zion Lutheran Cemetery south of Balaton for more than four decades. Photo / Per Peterson

It didn’t take long for Jerry Baas to miss that old Snapper lawnmower.

But the truth is, it’s not just that mower he misses.

After 40 years of tending to the grounds at Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Jerry, an 82-year-old retired farmer, is now looking back on all the work he — and his family — did at the cemetery south of Balaton. Because of health issues, Jerry had no other choice but to walk away from a job he grew to love.

“They just asked me if I would mow the grass,” Jerry recalls. “I enjoyed it. A long time ago, some county workers stopped by to get in the shade, and they saw us sweeping around the footstones — they said they had never seen that before, someone sweeping it. I told them we have to, otherwise the grass would grow in. And we’re fussy. I took pride in it. I’m gonna miss it.”

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