Sunday Morning Worship Services are Available Online!

Visitor Info



Memorial Garden Seasons

Anne McClamroch McFall Memorial Garden

Memorial Garden Policy




  1. The Memorial Garden will be open for meditation during office hours of the Church and at other times by special request to one of the pastors.
  2. Functions to be held in the Memorial Garden shall follow the policy for the use of other areas of Church property and shall be in keeping with the beauty, sanctity and size of the Memorial Garden. Permission for use for other than Church functions should be sought from the Church office.
  3. The Memorial Garden, as a place for the interring of cremated ashes, shall be used in accordance with the following resolutions of the Session:
    1. Through the use of the Anne McClamroch McFall Memorial Garden, University Presbyterian  Church is able to offer a dignified and suitable place for interring the cremated ashes of deceased communicants and the members of their families.
    2. A statement of policies concerning the interment of ashes seems necessary.  Therefore, it is stipulated that:

i.   The cremated ashes of members and their families, and former members who filed the appropriate paperwork while their memberships were still active, may, with the approval of the Pastor or Associate Pastor, be buried or scattered in the garden.

 ii.   Any burial services or rites shall be planned with one of the Pastors.

 iii. Buried ashes shall be in a biodegradable container or no container.

iv. Names and dates of the deceased person may be inscribed on to the granite wall along the burial site. Full names may be inscribed with no titles or nicknames. Names will be placed in chronological order by date of death on a panel close to, or adjacent to, the area of burial. If requested, every effort will be made to retain space on the panel for the future inscribing of a spouse’s name.

 v.   There is no cost for the burial or scattering of ashes, or for the inscription on the granite wall.  A family representative will be required to sign and verify on a church form as to the correct date of birth, date of death and spelling of the name of the decedent.

 vi.  We welcome gifts to honor a family member or in remembrance of a loved one. These can be made to the restricted Memorial Garden maintenance endowment and will be received for general upkeep rather than for a specified or designated use. Consistent with the UPC Gift Acceptance Policy, non-monetary gifts or named gifts are not ordinarily accepted.

 vii.   In keeping with the natural setting of the garden it is preferred that, in lieu of artificial arrangements, only living
plants or cut flowers be left by the granite wall in memory of loved ones.

By these resolutions no cemetery is created; no rights or special privileges are granted to families of those whose ashes are buried or scattered, and full right is reserved by the Church to make any necessary changes in years ahead without removing interred ashes or providing for continuation of the property as a burial site.

Adopted by the Session May 2006

Revised September 2008

Revised October 2011



Click here to read the History pdf

A History of the
Anne McClamroch McFall
Memorial Garden
University Presbyterian Church
Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Part I:  From Courtyard to Garden

In December 1978 our church newsletter announced, “Church Courtyard Becomes a Garden.”  The article stated “Our church courtyard which for years has been a rather neglected area is being transformed into a lovely garden spot, with trees, shrubs, flowers and a flowing fountain.   The garden is a gift to the church from Mrs. Roland McClamroch, in memory of her daughter, the late Anne McClamroch McFall.” The article went on to describe the varied uses of the garden and to state that the garden would be formally dedicated and presented in the coming spring.

Previously, Mrs. Clara McClamroch had designated in her will that a generous amount of her estate be used to establish an endowment fund for the creation and maintenance of a garden in the brick courtyard of the church. The proposed garden site had been nothing more than a “weed bed” and facility maintenance area, but Mrs. McClamroch had the vision to transform it into much more.  She imagined a place of natural beauty for quiet meditation, weddings or events, and importantly, a sacred place to serve as a memorial garden where the cremated remains of church members could be buried.

The McClamrochs had two children: Sandy, their son who later served as Mayor of Chapel Hill and Anne, their daughter whose life was cut short by illness in mid-life. Both Anne and Clara’s late husband Roland had been buried in the Chapel Hill Cemetery affectionately referred to by locals at that time as “Bald Hill.”  It was Mrs. McClamroch’s desire to have the ashes of both loved ones moved from the cemetery to her proposed memorial garden at University Presbyterian Church.  Anne was married to Walter McFall.  The garden would be named in her memory.

Click here to read more

Mrs. McClamroch named Mr. Ben Courts, Mrs. Thelma Boyd and Mrs. Betty Caldwell as Trustees of the thirty thousand dollar endowment fund and entrusted them with its management. Ben Courts, a pharmacist by profession took care of all the finances and did the investing held in CD’s at Wachovia Bank.   Much of the planning and creation of the garden was shared by Mrs. McClamroch, Mrs. Boyd and Mrs. Caldwell. Working together, they began a study, visiting other memorial gardens for ideas.  Early in the process, it was decided they did not want a columbarium. With a columbarium, money would be required from the family of the deceased.   In principle, they wanted this resting place to be available to any church member, regardless of financial situation.

With the function and purpose of the garden established, the next challenge was the garden design. While visiting other memorial gardens, they discovered two favorites: one in Greensboro, which they loved (The St. Frances Episcopal Garden), and another in the magazine House Beautiful.  It was The Frick Garden, across from the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC.  It was a garden at the house that had been left to the Institute.  The size and shape of this museum garden was just about the same as the courtyard space at UPC. They used this garden as a model for the design.  It had a pool and fountain.

In 1978 Lewis Clarke Associates from Raleigh was employed as the overall landscape designer and architect for the project.  Clarke was an Englishman who came to Harvard on a Fulbright Scholarship in 1951, gaining a Masters Degree in Landscape Architecture.  He was invited to teach at the NCSU School of Design and did so from 1952 until 1968, before starting his own firm. Mrs. McClamroch went to Raleigh on several occasions to consult with Mr. Clarke on the landscape plan. They wanted to keep it simple and they wanted it to be low maintenance. The design included azaleas, dogwoods, camellias sasanqua and japonica, pieris, rhododendrons, crepe myrtles and Japanese maples. The center area of the garden featured a brick floor, using bricks matching the ones in the church, made by the same factory in Lee County. The only annuals were in the two large Italian urns from Jenny Fitch to add color, using seasonal plants such as geraniums. The space for the burial of ashes would be planted with pachysandra, a ground cover that was easy to remove in clumps then when replaced, kept their form.

When it came time to begin the project, Mrs. McClamroch awarded the contract to two local young women. Catherine Chandler and Holly Snyder were partners in a registered NC Landscape Contractor firm known as Outdoor Craftswomen. Lewis Clarke knew of their growing reputation and had recommended them to Mrs. McClamroch. Catherine and Holly hired Mary Gardner to assist with the project. The construction included a variety of extensive brick laying work, which they accomplished most professionally.  The plan also called for expertise in carpentry, electrical, plumbing and drainage skills. For example the plan called for three redwood benches that were to be natural and unpainted. Holly did a custom job of constructing the benches in her shop at home and then brought them to the garden and installed them. Catherine Chandler would comment many years later that the job was the most complicated one she had ever undertaken.

The water features were focal points and central to the overall plan. Mr. Clarke had commissioned Richard Bell Fountains in Raleigh to design the fountain. Mr. Bell was the head of the first large successful horticultural business in Raleigh and fountains were his specialty.  Mrs. McClamroch met with him and the fountain they chose was a waterfall consisting of five large fiberglass shells that cascaded from under the parlor window into a 6’ X 10’ brick pool. Another water feature on the opposite end of the courtyard would be a smaller rectangular pool bubbling up over lava rocks.

The work began in May 1978. The first task was to remove and re-route the many utility structures for the facility operation of the church buildings that were housed in the courtyard.  Large air conditioning units, various pipes, and electrical wiring were there and had to be moved elsewhere on church property. Truckloads of weeds, debris, stone and old bricks were taken out. The large church bell from the original sanctuary, which burned in 1958, had been kept in the courtyard and at that time was moved to its new location in the front yard of the current church building. Clearing the space proved to be both time consuming and challenging and took almost two months. Once it was accomplished, the garden installation began.

The hardscaping continued through the heat of summer and the garden began to take shape. In early July, Mrs. McClamroch asked Catherine and Holly to bring her over to see the progress in the garden, which they did. Plumbing for the fountains, electrical work, extensive drainage systems, the redwood benches and the installation of both the fountain and the pools were accomplished. Placement of the brick flooring was the final major task of the hardscape process, requiring skill and patience.  First the brick edge was set all around, then the center was filled in with pavers.

By the end of August preparation was made for planting with the addition of truckloads of soil and bags and bags of composted chicken manure provided by Catherine’s father.  The crowning touch was putting in the various trees, shrubs and ground covers that had been so carefully selected over several months. One of the final steps was painting the pool interiors to seal them and that was done in late September when the heat had subsided. The project was completed by late October.  Plans were made to formally dedicate the garden the following spring.

While the garden was being constructed, Thelma Boyd and Betty Caldwell proceeded through all the legal steps to gain permission to have cremated human remains buried on the premises. The town had to give permission to bury ashes in the garden. Mrs. McClamroch had to go through the church Session. Then in March of 1979, to finalize this groundwork, Pastor Vance Barron wrote a letter to Mrs. Boyd, Mrs. Caldwell and Mr. Courts, just prior to the dedication asking them for any suggestions they might have for the service.  In that letter, he also requests they serve as the committee to work up policy statements on the use of the garden.  On completion, these suggestions would be submitted to the Session.  He asked Mrs. Boyd to serve as convener of the committee, and invited them to elect a chairperson.   A copy of the letter was sent to Mrs. McClamroch. In response, Mrs. Boyd, Mrs. Caldwell and Mr. Courts submitted a policy statement on the use of the Garden to the Session on May 1, 1979, and it was adopted by Session on August 30, 1979.  Guidelines with many details are listed, including that ashes must be buried in a biodegradable container or without any container, and that individual bronze plaques would display the names of the deceased. It was specified that only human remains could be interred (no pets) and that any member of the congregation or their family was eligible.

A Service of Dedication for the Memorial Garden was held at 9:00 a.m. Easter Sunday, April 15, 1979.  It started with a flute prelude by Bach, a call to worship, a hymn, and a responsive reading from the Psalms.  Next was a presentation of the garden made by Mrs. Clara McClamroch.  The service ended with another hymn, and the benediction.  Bob Dunham recalls the following: “Vance Barron, on that occasion led the congregation in a Litany of Dedication praying that the beauty of the garden might remind us of the goodness of God’s creation, that it might be a refuge for meditation, reflection, and for experiencing God’s holy peace, and that it be a resting place for the mortal remains of our loved ones as we trust in God’s promise of resurrection to eternal life.”

The Garden Room is located just off the Memorial Garden, and is so named because of its proximity and access to the Garden. Betty Caldwell notes in a church newsletter article,  “At the same time the Memorial Garden was being landscaped and built, Mrs. McClamroch also had renovation done in two small dark rooms under the sanctuary to make the present Garden Room.” It now functions as a meeting place for Bible studies and a variety of committees and groups, including the pre-school. It was intended to provide a convenient and comfortable place to support various garden events, such as a wedding, small gathering or memorial service.  The Garden Committee and Mrs. McClamroch decorated the room with floral fabric and even a green rug to promote the garden theme. Mrs. McClamroch had an architect change the original single wooden door, to double doors with glass panels at the top.  In 1986 the Garden Committee made a request to the Property Committee to replace the double doors leading into the Memorial Garden from the Garden Room.  French doors were then installed allowing more light into the room and to add to the beauty of the garden.  James Webb designed and installed the new doors; records show that the work was done and bill paid in January 1987.  In 2000 the French doors to the Garden Room were found to have interior rot and were replaced.  Betty Caldwell notes, “The garden uses the entrance doors connected to the fellowship hall and the Garden Room, and when used for weddings and other reception functions, this room is much used in conjunction to the garden itself.”

Presbyterian Women have for years used the Garden Room as their headquarters, keeping records here, and using the space for Bible study moderator training and distribution of training materials. A plaque hangs on the wall and is inscribed as follows: “THE GARDEN ROOM – This room is maintained in part, by an Endowment Fund, the seed money of which was given in memory of SARAH BURKETTE HUNTER – 1986.  Memorials and other gifts are invited.” It was given by former member and UPC elder Jo Hunt (Mrs. Emory Hunt) to honor her sister Sarah Burkette Hunter. The plaque represents an endowment that was created to help with the Garden Room renovation and upkeep. The endowment is kept and managed by the treasury of Presbyterian Women, of which Jo was a very active member. Some furniture and accessories were given by members in memory of loved ones to decorate the room. In 2001 an inventory of all donated and memorial objects found throughout the church was made based on recollections by Thelma Boyd as told to Rickie Howard. That inventory included many of the objects in the Garden Room.

In December 1981, Mrs. Clara McClamroch passed away at the age of 80.  Her obituary mentions that she planned and donated the Memorial Garden to the church, dedicated to the memory of her deceased daughter. Services were held at University Presbyterian Church, and her ashes were buried in the garden, joining those of her beloved husband and daughter who were the inspiration for her creation.

Mrs. Thelma Boyd was the first Chairman of the Garden Committee and served from 1979-1985.  Mrs. Boyd was very active in the care and upkeep of the garden, being an accomplished gardener herself.  As previously stated, Mr. Courts took care of finances and investments.  Mrs. Caldwell in addition to helping with the garden upkeep was responsible for ordering the bronze plaques when needed. She ordered them through Basnight and Sons Hardware from a company in Ohio.

For many years the routine maintenance of the garden was shared by Mrs. Boyd, Mrs. Caldwell, and a wonderful church caretaker, Mr. Allen Boyd. He knew Anne McClamroch McFall and was also acquainted with Mrs. McClamroch so he had a personal interest in the garden.  Mr. Boyd died at about the age of 100.  After Mr. Boyd retired, it was more difficult to keep up the regular routine garden maintenance.  Sometimes, church workers would be paid extra to help out on the weekend.

For the twenty years after its inception, till the mid and late nineties, the garden continued to grow and evolve, developing into the peaceful sanctuary first envisioned by its founders. Outdoor Craftswomen continued to do some seasonal work and plant replacement in the garden as needed for many years.  Various bills and records reveal typical expenses, including soil, mulch, replacement plants, and pruning services. In 1985, Lewis Clarke Associates did an estimate for renovation of the fountain and pool but the work was not done at that time.  Records also show that a tile fell off the church roof and broke one of the shells in the fountain, thus needing repair. There was an ongoing effort to keep up the memorial plaques, mounted on the brick wall, which would weather and need cleaning.

Local landscape architect David Swanson worked for Lewis Clarke Associates in the 1980’s and during this time he took a photograph of the garden that was featured in a nationally distributed twelve-month calendar.  Later in 1991 after he started his own landscape business, Swanson and Associates, he was employed by the Garden Committee for a consultation to evaluate plans for garden and fountain refurbishing. He designed a comprehensive proposal including a plant list, site evaluation notes and advice about modifications to the fountain.  He took photographs of the garden showing the mature growth of the trees and shrubs. It appears from the records that the Swanson proposals were not executed at that time.

Pleasant Gardens of Pittsboro was hired to do a modified landscape renewal in October 1993.  This was fifteen years after the garden was originally installed and many of the plants and shrubs in the parlor bed were replaced. Also this year there was another pump repair bill, as with age the pump increasingly developed mechanical problems and needed service. Betty Caldwell wrote a newsletter article about the change and took the opportunity to review the history of the garden for any new church members.

In April 1994 the garden was featured in the Chapel Hill Bicentennial celebration as part of the Historic Garden Tour.  The newspaper listing of open gardens includes:

“The Courtyard Garden at University Presbyterian Church: Franklin Street

(Please enter through the door by side driveway)

The Courtyard Garden at University Presbyterian Church

was created in memory of Anne McClamroch McFall

by her mother, Mrs. Roland McClamroch,

in 1979 as a place for meditation and reflection.

The courtyard was transformed into a garden with trees, shrubs,

flowers and a flowing fountain. The garden is used as a setting for

church functions as well as a quiet spot for individuals

during times when the church is open.

A designated area of the garden is available for the burial of ashes

of members and their families.  The garden also is used for weddings.”

In 1996, after thoughtful consideration, the decision was made to transfer the McClamroch McFall Memorial Garden Funds to the UPC Endowment Fund.  A letter dated February 21, 1996 was sent from Pastor Bob Dunham to Mrs. Boyd, Mrs. Caldwell and Mr. Courts, Trustees of the McClamroch McFall Memorial Garden, and members of the Garden Committee.  The letter acknowledges and thanks the trustees for entrusting the fund to the UPC Endowment Fund, and states that the fund will be administered with utmost care by the Board of Endowment.  Subsequently on June 14, 1996 another letter from Rev. Dunham to the trustees is sent, indicating that the final transfer of funds had been made, thus representing the closing of the garden account with the balance being turned over to UPC.  Documents supporting the transaction are attached with both letters.  The Garden Committee was to continue to monitor the maintenance and upkeep of the garden, reporting annually to the Session.  They would use disbursements for their annual budget with the McClamroch Fund now being administered by the church Endowment Committee. Betty Caldwell took this opportunity to announce these changes to the congregation and to once again advise church members of the history of the garden with a bulletin article.  Betty notes that at this time Ben Courts who had served as Treasurer resigned and would be replaced by Pat Hobbs.

(Notes from this section are from existing records and from interviews with Thelma Boyd, Pat Hobbs, Thad Monroe, Rickie Howard, Winsome Leadbetter, Catherine Chandler and David Swanson as recorded by Gail Norwood.  Additional comments by Thad Monroe)


Part II: From Tragedy to Renewal

On July 19, 2003, in perhaps the greatest single family tragedy in the life of University Presbyterian Church, George William Brumley III, Julia McNeill Preston Brumley, George William Brumley IV, and Jordan McNeill Brumley were killed in a horrific accident.  Julia, the daughter of members Dr. Edwin and Nancy Sims Preston and granddaughter of Evelyn McNeill Sims, had grown up in the church.  When she and George were married in the church sanctuary in 1986 he too became a member.  Both George IV and Jordan were baptized in the church and young George attended our Presbyterian Pre-school.  That July they were traveling in Africa with eight other members of the Brumley family representing three generations, including George’s parents Dr. George and Jean Stanback Brumley and all were killed including the pilots when their chartered airplane crashed into Mt. Kenya.  These unspeakably, tragic losses deeply stunned our community but also presaged a new era in the life of the Memorial Garden.

Unrelated to this tragedy, in November 2003, Mindy Douglas Adams, UPC Associate Pastor, was concerned that space in the Memorial Garden was limited for adding plaques to the garden wall. Under Session’s aegis, she convened a Task Force to consider this and other issues related to the garden. Initial tasks of the  group were the following: 1) reviewing the present Session policy (1979) for any needed changes; 2) inventory of the present plaques and making a plan for future ones; 3) adopting a policy in regard to reserving spaces; and 4) reviewing the present condition of the garden with recommendations for an approach to any needed renovation. Other issues were added including a request from Nancy Preston that we consider including a columbarium.

The Task Force met over several months reviewing the garden’s history and existing documents. Audiences with church members included extended discussion with Nancy Preston about the possible incorporation of a columbarium into the garden. Materials on columbariums furnished by Robert Hayter, a Pinehurst architect, were studied. In its report of May 1, 2004 the Task Force reported to the Session (Appendix B) with the following recommendations:


The Task Force recommends:

1) that the Policy Statement adopted by the Session in 1979 be revised for clarification (Attachment); (Appendix D)

2) that the practice of having uniform plaques without titles or symbols should continue.

Although we acknowledge our indebtedness to deceased clergy, military veterans, and other groups, we affirm our belief that each of us is equal in the sight of God and that our salvation is through grace alone;

3) that the issue of establishing a columbarium be seen as outside the scope of our consideration, inasmuch as, locating it in the garden would breach the agreement between the church and Mrs. McClamroch that the area be maintained as a place for the burial of ashes;

4) that an inventory of the current plaques and their placement be made, and, in order that use of the available space can be extended for a good many years, that the pastors develop written guidelines for systematic spacing of the plaques and for reserving spaces for spouses and/or other family members;

5) that  in order to gain additional space for plaques, consideration be given at some later time to erecting architecturally pleasing brick walls at one or both ends of the existing garden;

6) that, for those whose remains are buried in the garden, a register be established and maintained to include their name, dates of birth and death, their affiliation with UPC or other relationship to the church, and a copy of their obituary;

7) that the Garden Committee be encouraged to undertake systematic study of  the garden with a view to substantial renovation or replacement of plant materials as may be needed.

The group’s position on having a columbarium was earlier conveyed to Nancy Preston. Following this the Session opposed locating a columbarium elsewhere on the church property, a position dictated by both theological and space concerns. Nancy’s initial disappointment evolved into an interest to improve the current garden with a view to having it as a final resting place for the remains of her lost loved ones. Thus her interest came into alignment with the recently articulated need for renovation of the garden. As a result, profound suffering in loss began its transformation in an act of generosity creating beauty and benefiting others.

(Notes from this section provided by Thad Monroe and Nancy and Ed Preston)


 Part III:  From Task Force to Renovation

On March 21, 2004, The Garden Committee and Nancy and Ed Preston met in the church parlor with Chip Calloway, a well-known, respected landscape designer from Greensboro. Additionally he was a friend of Julia and George having helped with the establishment of their extensive gardens at their home in Orange County known as Longview. He offered engaging ideas for improvements, and it was generally agreed that much could be accomplished, while maintaining the general character of the garden as initially conceived. Bob Dunham quickly assumed leadership of the process and continued active involvement and gentle, wise guidance.

In May 2004, the Session approved further discussions with the Prestons. Rickie Howard, Clerk of the Session, representing that body, and Thad Monroe were appointed to work along with Bob Dunham to engage on a conceptual plan for a potential renovation. A series of meetings with Nancy and Ed Preston followed and understandings were reached on the mission and scope of the project, the budget, the parameters of the Session’s role in any contracts by the church, and the need for a building committee to oversee construction. A beginning clarification of funding issues and design considerations followed.

It became apparent that both structural and horticultural issues were involved making it necessary to have an architect. Preliminary meetings were held with Robert Hayter (The Hayter Firm, Pinehurst, NC, Landscape Architects) known for his work for the Pinehurst Resort and The Homestead in Virginia. Mr. Calloway (Chip Calloway & Associates, Greensboro, NC, Garden Designers) joined these meetings, and it was agreed that the two of them would work together to produce conceptual drawings and sketches. The Session approved this arrangement to be funded by the Prestons through gifts to the church. Sensitive to the interests of those who had worked with Mrs. McClamroch and who also had long, committed investment in the garden, it was our stated aim to accomplish needed changes while maintaining the existing structure to the greatest extent possible.

Based on the report, observations, and discussions of the previous Task Force, the designers were asked to consider the following needs:

  • Providing improved access to the garden in recognition that many church members had little idea how to find the existing doors
  • Improving recording of the names of those whose ashes are interred
  • Making the garden a more gracious, inviting, and shaded place for meditation and reflection
  • Replacing or modifying the existing, troublesome fountains
  • Substantially renovating and/or replacing the plant material
  • Improving sightlines within the garden with attention to the unattractive north end

By September 2004, the proposed design schematics were available from the design team. This was greeted very favorably by the working group and also by the Session. Over the ensuing months meetings were held with the Garden Committee, with the McClamroch and McFall families, and with survivors of those whose remains were buried in the garden. The congregation was given an opportunity to see the schematics. Reactions were generally very favorable. It was clear that the new plan would substantially change the outlines of the existing garden, and, moreover, that the aim to accomplish the determined goals within the old framework was impractical. There was reluctance by some to see the outline of the existing garden altered, and this was acknowledged.

Preliminary cost estimates were obtained along with the broad outline of a funding plan which included a gift of $200,000 from the Zeist Foundation of Atlanta, an entity established by the Brumley family for charitable giving, and also a substantial gift from the Prestons.  In June 2005, the working group asked the Session to approve moving forward with the following action:

“That the Session approves a renovation of the Anne McClamroch McFall Memorial Garden based on the designs developed by Robert Hayter and Chip Calloway.

This renovation would be in part funded by the Zeist (Brumley Family) Foundation, Ed and Nancy Preston and other interested UPC members. The name of the garden is to remain the “Anne McClamroch McFall Memorial Garden.”

The Session approved this action along with soliciting funding support of the congregation through a “quiet campaign.” Likewise, the Session agreed to appoint a Memorial Garden Renovation Task Force. This group included Rickie Howard, Charlie Straughn, Bob Dunham (staff), Nancy Preston (ex officio), and Thad Monroe (Chair).

With this the new Task Force moved forward with resolving remaining design issues. Since it involved disturbing or even off site removal of the burial area soil, the architects plan for “river of life” water wall was abandoned even though it was elegant in design and rich in symbolism. Placing a small octagonal pool at the rear of the arbor left open the center of the arbor for a medallion with a Celtic cross and scriptural passage from John 14:27, “Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you.”  Along with granite panels for the names of deceased members interred in the garden, the medallion was designed and inscribed by Ron Bartholomew of Durham Marble Works.

Bruce Harrod (Riggs-Harrod Builders, Inc., Durham, NC) was approved as general contractor and work on the renovation was started in June 2006 and completed with installation of the plants that fall. Rickie Howard worked out a carefully planned, systematic scheme for transfer of names from the plaques to the new granite panels.  She was assisted by Bob Dunham and Mary Donna Pond. Rickie made a plan for addition of names twice yearly. With addition of 15 names each year, she estimated the panels would last until 2022. Low voltage lighting and an entirely new drip irrigation system was in place.

And so from the early months of 2004 following untold hours of deliberations, discussions, presentations, fund-raising and physical work by the myriad of people involved in the redesign and reformation of the original Memorial Garden, the newly built and planted garden was rededicated on Sunday, May 20, 2007.  The flowers in the sanctuary that Sunday were given in honor of the deceased Brumley family.  Many family members and friends of the Brumleys had come from near and far for the rededication and blessing of this new space created for their memories and all others whose ashes had been and would be interred there.

The precise service of rededication was integrated into the normal 11:00 a.m. service of worship led by Senior Pastor Bob Dunham.  Each aspect of the hour beginning with the opening hymn “Morning Has Broken,” a touching sacrament of baptism for Kirkland Alexander, the inspiring sermon, “A Connected Peace” by Bob based on John 14: 15-27 through Betsy Buchanan’s beautiful solo in Mozart’s anthem taken from Psalm 117 led up to the Act of Re-dedication.  Central to this ceremony was the participation by all in the Litany of Dedication:

ONE: Gracious God of bountiful goodness, all creation sings Your praises, from the song of the lark to the lily’s bloom, from the fruit of the earth’s bounty to the steady progress of the seasons.  The world is full of your beauty and grace, O God’

ALL:  And so with grateful hearts we lift our voices in praise.

ONE:  Out of the void at the beginning of time You created a paradisiacal garden, O God, and set humankind within it.  By the prophet You urged Your people to plant gardens and eat of their fruit, even in times of exile.  We remember, too, a garden to which our Lord withdrew as a place of comfort, prayer and preparation.

ALL: We give You thanks for the gardens of our lives, for their brightness and color, and for their reminders of the seasons of our lives.

ONE: This day, O God, we give you particular thanks for the garden at the heart of our church’s life, for it hints of Your gracious goodness and for its lessons of our own mortality, for its reminders of people so dear to us, whose faces illuminate the names etched in granite there.

ALL:  God of our lives, we give You thanks for this garden and for the dear ones whose lives are commemorated there.

ONE: For the life of Anne McClamroch McFall, whose memory the garden celebrates: for the legacies of George, Julia, George and Jordan Brumley, each of whom we remember in the garden’s redesign; and for all the loved ones whose ashes make the garden’s soil hallowed ground for us.

ALL:  We give You thanks, O God.

ONE:  For the gifts of architects, planners and contractors who brought their well-honed skills to bear, and for all those who generously devoted time and resources to this project, so that beauty and grace, flowers and fragrance might lend their comfort to all who seek solace

within the garden wall,

ALL: We give You thanks, O God.

ONE: O God, You are not confined within walls or structures made by human hands, nor is Your favor limited to those of us who inhabit Your house;

ALL: Yet hear us, we pray, as we dedicate once again this garden as a refuge of consolation and peace, and recommit ourselves to ministries of grace and hospitality, after the manner of the One who promised not to leave us comfortless, who bequeathed us His peace, Jesus Christ our Lord.   AMEN

            Following the Sending all were invited to the Fellowship Hall for a reception to commemorate the rededication and to visit the new garden and celebrate its renewal.  To mark the new design and restoration of the original garden two plaques at the new entrance from the upper level of the entrance to the Fellowship Hall mark its two dates of conception.  The first acknowledges Mrs. McClamroch’s original gift in memory of her daughter Anne, for whom the garden is named.  The second plaque makes note that the present redesign and renovation is done to remember George Brumley, III and Julia Preston Brumley and their two children, George Brumley, IV and Jordan Brumley. This plaque also stated that the current effort was made possible by generous gifts from the Zeist Foundation, from Nancy and Ed Preston, from members of the congregation, and the UPC Endowment. The latter was a multi-year gift exceeding previous commitments from the endowment.

In its final report (Appendix E) to the Session the Task Force recommended that the Garden Committee be reconstituted with an enlarged membership and elected by the Session on nomination from the Administration Committee. Members of the prior committee were folded into the new one, all members to have staggered terms. The newly restructured committee would be called the Memorial Garden Committee to distinguish it from the earlier one.  The Committee now reports to and is accountable to the Session through the Administration Committee. Thad Monroe ably served as the first Chairman from 2007-2010 and was followed by Gail Norwood.  The Committee meets twice a year with Pastor Dunham and submits an annual report to the session through the Administration Committee.  The church website includes a page on the Memorial Garden where members can see a history and photos of the garden and access the policies and forms as needed.

Growth of the principal of Mrs. McClamroch’s original gift for a Maintenance Endowment was supplemented by a generous gift from Evelyn Sims, mother of Nancy Preston, grandmother to Julia, and great-grandmother of George, IV and Jordan. This will make possible continued upkeep of the renovated garden.

(Notes from this section provided by Thad Monroe and Nancy and Ed Preston)


In Conclusion

Officiating at a burial in the garden, Bob Dunham spoke eloquently of how loss and pain can be transformed into acts of beauty and generosity with a passage from Romans 5:1-5.

 [1] Therefore, since we are justified by faith,

 we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

[2] Through him we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand,

 and we rejoice in our hope of sharing the glory of God.

[3] More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings,

 knowing that suffering produces endurance,

[4] and endurance produces character, and character produces hope,

[5] and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured

 into our hearts through the Holy Spirit which has been given to us.

A journey of beauty, joy and pain began with Clara McClamroch’s vision to turn an unattractive service area into a Memorial Garden in memory of her daughter. This grew into renewal and hope for our church family.  As the garden has evolved, it remains very centrally a place for the burial of cremated remains of our deceased loved ones and for their remembrance.  But for all members it offers a place for meditation and prayer, a quiet oasis from a busy routine and a reminder of the beauty of nature in our lives. It continues to provide a welcoming place for other functions related to the life of the church as well. Campus ministry students worship here and preschoolers have class photos taken within the bricked courtyard walls. Couples exchange wedding vows and members enjoy fellowship when Gather in the Garden events occur between Sunday services in fall and spring. As with all gardens, ours has grown and changed through the years. It also has become integral both to the architecture and life of the church, offering something to all of our members, for in the beauty of nature, we find one more expression of God’s love.


Appendix B


Report to the Session

Anne McClamroch McFall

Memorial Garden Task Force

University Presbyterian Church

March 1, 2004

Members of the Task Force were the following: Thelma Boyd, Betty Caldwell, Dede Corvinus (Moderator), Laura Piver, Mindy Douglas Adams (staff), and Thad Monroe (Secretary).

We understood our charge to include these matters: 1) to evaluate the existing policy statement and recommend any needed changes; 2) to develop a plan for future growth in use of the garden as a site for burial of cremated remains over the next 10, 20, and 30 years; 3) to develop a policy regarding reserving spaces for plaques for other family members of decedents; 4) to review a possible proposal for adding flags or other symbols to plaques; and 5) to consider a possible proposal for adding a columbarium to the garden.

The following materials were reviewed: 1) the existing policy statement adopted by the Session on August 30, 1979; 2) what appeared to be a draft outlining some history and proposals for guidelines; 3) a schematic showing the location of existing plaques and spaces reserved for family members; 4) letters from members of the congregation; and 6) that portion of the Last Will and Testament of Mrs. McClamroch establishing the Clara L. McClamroch Fund to support the garden. The history of the garden was reviewed, and the Task Force visited and studied the site. Audiences were held with Nancy Preston and Bob Patton.

The Task Force recommends:

1) that the Policy Statement adopted by the Session in 1979 be revised for clarification (Attachment);

2) that the practice of having uniform plaques without titles or symbols should continue.

Although we acknowledge our indebtedness to deceased clergy, military veterans, and other groups, we affirm our belief that each of us is equal in the sight of God and that our salvation is through grace alone;

3) that the issue of establishing a columbarium be seen as outside the scope of our consideration, inasmuch as locating it in the garden would breach the agreement between the church and Mrs. McClamroch that the area be maintained as a place for the burial of ashes;

4) pruse of the available space can be extended for a good many years, that the pastors develop written guidelines for systematic spacing of the plaques and for reserving spaces for spouses and/or other family members;

5) that  in order to gain additional space for plaques, consideration be given at some later time to erecting architecturally pleasing brick walls at one or both ends of the existing garden;

6) that, for those whose remains are buried in the garden, a register be established and maintained to include their name, dates of birth and death, their affiliation with UPC or other relationship to the church, and a copy of their obituary;

7) that the Memorial Garden Committee be encouraged to undertake systematic study of  the garden with a view to substantial renovation or replacement of plant materials as may be needed.

Dede Corvinus, Moderator

Thad Monroe, Secretary


Appendix D





  1. The Garden will be open for meditation during office hours of the Church and at other times by special request to one of the pastors.
  2. Functions to be held in the Garden shall follow the policy for the use of other areas of Church property and shall be in keeping with the beauty, sanctity and size of the Garden.  Permission for use for other than Church functions should be sought from the Garden Committee.
  3. The Garden, as a place for the interring of cremated ashes, shall be used in accordance with the following resolutions of the Session:
    1. Through the use of the Anne McClamroch McFall Memorial Garden, University Presbyterian Church is able to offer a dignified and suitable place for interring the cremated ashes of deceased communicants and the members of their families.
    2. A statement of policies concerning the interment of ashes seems necessary.  Therefore, it is stipulated that:
  1. The cremated ashes of members and their families may, with the approval of the Pastor or Associate Pastor, be buried in the garden.
  2. Any burial services or rites shall be planned with one of the Pastors

iii.      Ashes shall be in a bio-degradable container or no container (scattered).

  1. A plaque with the names and dates of the deceased person may be placed on the specified brick wall.  These plaques shall be uniform with no titles and no symbols and shall be ordered through the Church office.
  2. The costs of burial, as well as purchasing and mounting the plaque, shall be paid by the family representative of the decedent, the amount to be determined by the Garden Committee, based on actual costs at the time.

By these resolutions no cemetery is created; no rights or special privileges are granted to families of those whose ashes are buried, and full right is reserved by the Church to make any necessary changes in years ahead without removing interred ashes or providing for continuation of the property as a burial site.

Adopted by the Session June 2004

                                                Appendix E

 Report to the Session

Memorial Garden Renovation Task Force

July 27, 2007

 Members of the Task Force are Bob Dunham, Rickie Howard, Nancy Preston, Charlie Straughn, and Thad Monroe, Chair. We are pleased to report that work on the garden was completed in December. The garden has been reopened to visitors, and was rededicated on Sunday, May 20. We are grateful to the Session and the Trustees for their support and guidance during the planning and renovation. Our thanks are also due the following donors, who made the project possible: The Zeist Foundation, Nancy and Ed Preston, members of the UPC congregation, and the UPC Endowment Committee.

Policy: Faithful to Mrs. McClamroch’s bequest, the garden will continue as a place for burying cremated remains of members and their families, for meditation and prayer, and for various church functions. Applicable policy was adopted by the Session May 2006.

Budget: Despite our overtures, we as yet do not have a final invoice from Riggs-Harrod. Our expectation is for a surplus of income over expenses of $4,000. A supplementary report on this will follow. If there is a surplus, consideration should be given to adding it to the maintenance endowment.

 Maintenance of the Garden: We have entered into a contract with Redmill Nursery for quarterly professional care for the plantings at an annual cost of $1,680.  Redmill’s performance in installing the plants, irrigation, and low voltage uplighting was excellent. Engaging them reflects also an intention to have a seamless transition from installation to maintenance. The church staff will carry out weekly grooming.

Maintenance Endowment: Allowing an additional amount for seasonal/replacement plantings and other miscellaneous costs, we estimate that the garden can be well-maintained for a total annual cost of $2,200, considerably less than our earlier estimate. Experience may suggest a need to revise this figure. With additional gifts from Evelyn Sims and Nancy and Ed Preston, the existing restricted endowment established by Mrs. McClamroch, now has a principal balance of $76,000. Utilizing conservative assumptions and the current distribution rate (roughly 4%) of the Endowment Committee, we believe resources are adequate to cover the present maintenance cost. The cumulative annual allocation and retained earnings should cover increased maintenance costs due to inflation and aging of the garden over the next ten years or more.  It is doubtful that these existing funds would cover any need for major renovation of the plant material in later years.

 Memorial Panels: Rickie Howard has outlined a systematic plan for transfer of names to the granite panels, for twice yearly addition of names, and for orderly recording under the Session policy noted above.  The Pastoral and Administrative Staffs will oversee this process. The Garden Committee will facilitate the actual inscription and from time to time may make policy suggestions to the Session. Additional names were recently added.

There is a potential for up to 282 names to be inscribed on the granite wall.  Ideally that number should be held to 234 so that all names can be easily viewed. Approximately 150 spaces are currently used or reserved for spouses. If 15 names are added or reserved each year it may be about 15 years or until 2022 before the wall is “full”.  Use of the Memorial Garden as a place of interment of ashes will need to be periodically evaluated by the Garden Committee to determine if this projected timetable remains valid. At some point it seems likely that additional granite panels may need to be installed on other walls.

Recommendation on restructuring of Garden Committee:

Background: In language satisfying IRS requirements, Mrs. McClamroch’s will established three trustees for her $30,000 bequest for maintenance of the garden. Provision was made that each trustee was to appoint a successor to be approved by the Session. Although the will is silent on the point, these trustees became de facto the Garden Committee. In our view the will did not establish the committee, although it is a belief held by some. For many years Thelma Boyd kept the plants, Ben Courts kept the money, and Betty Caldwell kept the plaques. This generally worked well, but the Committee functioned with considerable autonomy, and there was no clear reporting relationship to the church. Lately, Betty Caldwell, Pat Hobbs, and Thad Monroe are members, serving in approximate terms, respectively, 28, 15, and 10 years.

Several years ago, the money was transferred to the UPC Endowment as the Clara L. McClamroch Fund restricted to garden maintenance. Thus, there is no longer a need for trustees. With the renovation, the Session and other church officers have been more involved. For both management and polity considerations, we see a propitious time for restructuring the Garden Committee.

We recommend the following:

  • that the Garden Committee report to the Session through the Administration Committee
  • that the committee submit an annual report in May on the garden’s condition and finances
  • that the restructured committee shall have six members with three year that the Garden Committee report to the Session through the Administration Committee
  • that the committee submit an annual report in May on the garden’s condition and finances
  • that the members have staggered terms and the option of reappointment for subsequent terms.
  • that members will serve until a replacement is appointed
  • that the members be chosen by the Administration Committee and ratified by the Session
  • that attention be given to having members who have buried the remains of loved ones in the garden and also those who have gardening interest and experience
  • that the Committee elect its own Chair, who will also be garden keeper.
  • that the current members be folded into this new structure with terms inversely related to their length of service and with the option subsequently of reappointment or of accepting emeritus membership that over time the Administration Committee have the option  to reduce the size of the committee to three members


The Task Force members appreciate this rewarding opportunity to serve the church. Our work now completed, we respectfully request that we be discharged.


Thad Monroe, Chair

UPC Garden Renovation Task Force


This history of the Memorial Garden is a compilation of church records, bulletins, bills and work orders, handwritten notes, snapshots and most importantly interviews with members who were directly involved in the garden’s development and evolution through many years. Thelma Boyd, Pat Hobbs, Thad Monroe and several others contributed invaluable recollections and documents.

Catherine Chandler generously shared her slides and recalled many details from the 1978 garden installation, which helped bring that early garden to life again.  The garden remains a very special part of our church life and experience, and hopefully by understanding the history we can enjoy and appreciate it all the more. 


Special thanks to Thad Monroe and Ed and Nancy Preston

for their significant contributions to the text and editing.

 Gail Norwood November 2011