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Meet John Shuck: Advocate and Volunteer of the East End Cemetery

02/14/2018 6:30 AM by

One of the features we’ll start running more often is the tireless work of those live and work in the neighborhood and the surrounding areas. It doesn’t matter how small you think your contributions are, someone out there appreciates your work and efforts to make a difference. If you have someone you’d like to feature, let us know why at chpnrva@gmail.com

John Shuck, long serving volunteer and site coordinator for the restoration efforts at East End and Evergreen cemeteries was included in this week’s Style Weekly feature:

Nine years ago John Shuck would be surprised that his amateur interest in genealogy would lead to his becoming the point person in the relentless task of restoring Evergreen and East End cemeteries to some semblance of dignity.

When Shuck, now 70 and a retired bank performance analyst for SunTrust, started photographing grave sites in these woefully neglected African-American burial grounds, he could not have imagined retirement would find him serving as a coordinator for hundreds of volunteers in attempts to clear 75 acres of kudzu, poison ivy and forestation. The work is slow — and nature moves seemingly faster — but with the burial sites of such Richmond icons like Maggie L. Walker the trailblazing businesswoman and civic leader, and John Mitchell, a brilliant newspaper editor, and 7,000 others at risk, the work continues.

To Shuck, his tireless and dedicated associates, the Enrichmond Foundation, and all those who have turned out with weed whackers, rakes and shovels, here’s a big smooch from the living on behalf of the dead.

Want to know more about the East End Cemetery?

From Board Member Justin Curtis:

More information regarding the ongoing progress at the cemetery can be found at the Friends of East End (FoEE) website and the volunteer workday calendar maintained by John Shuck can be found here.

The Friends of East End Cemetery is a 501c3 non-profit established to support the restoration efforts John Shuck began many years ago as well as raising community awareness and providing educational opportunities about the historic burial grounds.

Volunteer groups and individuals are always welcome to join us for clean-up efforts. Donations, including in-kind items, are also welcome and tax deductible. Interested individuals or institutions are encouraged to contact us at friendsofeastend@gmail.com.

And from all of us, our deepest thanks to John Shuck for his dedication to recovering this sacred place.

The featured photo is John during a work day at East End in December 2015 on an unseasonably warm day. With him is archaeologist Dave Brown of the Fairfield Foundation. 

Featured Photo Credit: Brian Palmer/brianpalmer.photos
Second Photo Credit: Scott Elmquist


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