Restored headstone vandalized at Grantsville Cemetery unveiled on Memorial Day

May 27, 2024, 7:55 PM

GRANTSVILLE A Memorial Day gathering marked the heartwarming end to what started as an upsetting story in the Grantsville Cemetery. Months after historic headstones were found broken and destroyed, one extended family came together with reason to celebrate. 

Cars and trucks pulled into the Grantsville Cemetery Monday morning, as people parked and got out to walk around. Some placed flowers on graves. American flags waved in the breeze to mark those who served our country. 

Many stood over headstones of loved ones, hugging each other while sharing memories and tears. 

As they honored loved ones by visiting the past, a crowd began to grow near the middle of the cemetery. 

That group was not only paying tribute to loved ones buried in the cemetery, but they were also meeting up with those still very much alive. 

They were all descendants of one couple who lived more than 100 years ago, Andrew and Louisa Millward 

“Hey how are you?” Jill Millward Juchau said, hugging a relative. “Good to see you!” 

Jason Millward introduced his daughter’s fiancé to others. 

“Got to make sure to meet the whole family,” he said. 

Vandals damage several Grantsville City Cemetery headstones

Juchau brought the entire clan together  more than 100 people for a family reunion of sorts. Everyone gathered around a headstone shrouded by canvas, with the name “Millward” peeking out underneath. 

Jill Millward Juchau speaks to about 100 Millward descendants who came for the headstone unveiling (KSL TV)

“They fell in love, they got married, and days after their wedding they boarded a ship and came to America,” Juchau said, of the Millwards. 

The couple, she explained, came from England and eventually settled in Grantsville. Ten of their 12 childen went on to have large families of their own. 

The story of love and family took a heartbreaking turn a few months ago, when the couple’s headstone was one of several historic gravesites vandalized around the Grantsville Cemetery. 

“I was saddened because someone thought that that would be a fun thing to do,” Juchau said. 

At first, she said she called around trying to figure out what it would cost to restore it. But then her relative Jason Millward, who is a sculptor, volunteered to take on the restoration project. 

Andrew and Louisa’s headstone, which is also the headstone for two of their children, was tipped over in February, causing the 1920’s monument to break and chip (KSL TV)

He said he spent about three weeks-worth of fulltime hours scraping, carving, chiseling, and sanding by hand. He fixed broken corners and revealed the original marble underneath the decades of weathering. 

“Hopefully it looks similar to when they put it up in the twenties,” he said. 

Milllwards traveled from near and far for the moment Jason unwrapped the canvas, unveiling the freshly fixed headstone. 

Family members gasped and began to clap. 

“It’s beautiful! It’s beautiful,” Juchau said. 

Beaming at their family monument, its original splendor on display, family members took turns gazing at the details and snapping photos. 

“If we could make this nice somehow, take something bad and make it a positive, you know, then we could reconnect with each other,” Jason said. 

With its bright, white marble, the gravesite shined across the cemetery as the family visited with loved ones, while honoring the past. 

“It turned into a wonderful thing, didn’t it?” Juchau said. “Really turned into a wonderful thing.” 

Family members take a close look at the restored Millward headstone (KSL TV)

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Restored headstone vandalized at Grantsville Cemetery unveiled on Memorial Day