About Us

Debra Knapke began serving as a Cemetery Board Trustee in January of 2022. She has been a member of the Cemetery Advisory Committee for over 20 years and serves as Chair for this committee. Some of her other community involvement includes working with Ohio State Extension on Pollinator Projects, teaching classes on plants, gardens and the environment for the Columbus Garden School, and working at the Heritage Garden at the Ohio Governor’s Residence.

Beth Kowalczyk began serving as a Cemetery Board Trustee in February of 2022 and has served on Worthington City Council since January 2018. Ms. Kowalczyk is the Chief Policy Officer for the Ohio Association of Area Agencies on Aging. She serves on the Boards of the HealthPath Foundation of Ohio and the Ohio Coalition for Adult Protective Services. She has been a resident of Worthington for over 12 years and is active with a number of local organizations including the Old Worthington Partnership Board, Worthington Bridges, Drug Safe Worthington, Friends Foundation of Worthington Libraries, the Worthington Women’s Club and the Worthington Historical Society City of Worthington.

John H. Oberle is the Sharon Township representative to the Cemetery Board and serves in the capacity of Chairman on the Board. He has been a Sharon Township Trustee since 2006. Some of his other community involvement includes Central Ohio Regional Shared Services Steering Committee, Ohio State Airport (Advisory Committee), Worthington Youth Boosters and Basketball Coach.

Thomas A. Kayati has been employed by the Cemetery for over 40 years and has worked as the Cemetery Superintendent since 1992. He is a lifelong Worthington resident. Mr. Kayati served on the Ohio Dispute Resolution Commission for seven years and is a past Board member of the Ohio Association of Cemetery Superintendents and Officials. Mr. Kayati was awarded the Outstanding Cemeterian Award in February, 2012 by the Ohio Cemetery Association.

Elaine E. Russell has been the Office Manager for the Cemeteries since 2000. She served as the Secretary/Treasurer for the Ohio Cemetery Association for four years.

The Cemetery Advisory Committee is made up of members of the community who volunteer their time and lend their professional expertise to the management, expansion and beautification of the cemeteries. Committee member backgrounds include: Surveying, Land Management, Horticultural and Landscape Architecture, Geology and Soil Analysis, Mortuary Science, Political Science and History.

Current members are:

Lauren Blyth – Has many interest and expertise in a variety of areas. She is an ecologist, carpenter, customer service specialist, nature enthusiast, millennial, and cemetery neighbor

John and Steff Haueisen – Worthington Historical Society representatives

Fred Hower – “The Ohio Nurseryman;” Adjunct Faculty, Landscape Design, Columbus State Community College; Landscape consultant, speaker and author

Don Jones – Retired Executive Vice President, Rutherford-Corbin Funeral Home

Susan Rice – Worthington resident and artist

Debra Knapke – “The Garden Sage;” Adjunct Faculty, Landscape Design Build Program, Columbus State Community College; Garden designer, consultant, speaker and author

Diane Randolph – Certified Master Gardener; Member, Worthington Hills Garden Club and Worthington Women’s Club, Worthington Historical Society

Dr. Douglas Southgate – Professor at The Ohio State University since 1980 and a Worthington resident since 1988.

Dr. Julie Weatherington Rice – Soil Science; Certified Professional Geologist and Soil Scientist