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meet the volunteers

These are brief profiles of the Friends of Ancient Cemetery Volunteers. We wanted to learn what encouraged them to join the Project, and how long they have been a volunteer. Each person shared some special information about themselves, their interests, skills and background. Look for some surprises!

Kirsten Albers

Kirsten Albers moved to West Yarmouth almost 9 years ago from the Midwest.  This is her second-year volunteering for Friends of Ancient Cemetery.  She became interested in tombstone preservation due to her fascination with the Woodside Cemetery which is near her home.


She contacted the Town of Yarmouth to see if a volunteer opportunity existed and was delighted when a spot opened with the Friends of Ancient Cemetery.  She loves the solitude of cleaning the stones and considers it an honor to preserve their beauty for future generations.

Kirsten loves the outdoor activities available on Cape Cod such as hiking and kayaking, and spends her indoor time knitting, reading, and pursuing Irish dance.  She currently works as a manager in the Oncology Department at Cape Cod Healthcare.

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Gary Albuquerque

Gary Albuquerque previously from Needham, MA has been a Yarmouth Port resident for 12 years.  He joined the Friends of Ancient Cemetery 2 years ago to fulfill his desire to bring the stones back to life.

For the past 10 years he has been volunteering at the Crosby Mansion in Brewster mainly as a painter, using his many years of experience as a painter contractor.


Since 1986 he has collected over 300 antique Christmas ornaments (prior to 1940). Ten months out of the year they are carefully stored in boxes but are happily displayed each Christmas, which is his favorite holiday. Gary enjoys reading and belongs to a book club.  He also enjoys working in his perennial flower garden.

For the past 35 years he has been helping relatives and friends of alcoholics by being part of the Al-Anon fellowship.

Bruce Bassett

Bruce Bassett lives in East Dennis.  He has been coming to the Cape every year since 1977. He and his wife built their house in 2000. They became full-time residents in July 2021. He is a new volunteer with the Friends of Ancient Cemetery. 

He got interested in being involved with the FOAC because his friends, David and Pauline Shafer introduced him to cleaning headstones. David gave Bruce his very first lesson in how to clean a headstone and he has cleaned several of his Bassett ancestors in the Dennis Village Cemetery and the Center Cemetery in Rochester MA. David invited Bruce to join FOAC.

He is interested in gardening, reading, bike riding, genealogy, walking, backpacking, cleaning headstones, and baking. He is also a member of the Cape Cod Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution (SAR) and serves as their Chapter Chaplain.

When Bruce is cleaning someone's headstone, he is honoring that person’s memory. These individuals have a history, and his hope is that by cleaning their gravestone, in some small way, their history is preserved. Something not well known is that he likes to bake, especially cheesecakes and chocolate chip cookies (he has a favorite recipe which is not Toll House). 


Bruce is a retired Lutheran Pastor, a member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. He served all his ministry in New Jersey. In retirement, he still provides worship leadership and preaching for Lutheran Churches who may be without a pastor. 

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Debby Bianchi

Debby Bianchi lives in South Yarmouth. She has been a full-time Cape Cod resident for 6 years.  

She has volunteered with the Friends of Ancient Cemetery for 4 years. Before she moved to the Cape she cleaned, restored and documented in many cemeteries in rural Maine and Bradford Massachusetts.


She got interested in the Friends of Ancient Cemetery because she wanted a chance to meet like-minded people in this area. It can be a lonely hobby, but this group of volunteers have been so much more than occasionally running into each other at the site. She is very happy to have this opportunity to meet so many interesting people.

Debby’s hobbies and interests are Genealogy & gardening.
Her special skill or contribution is that she likes to do a little genealogical research on the people of the stones that she cleans. It brings her closer to them, their family members, their occupations, their struggles and accomplishments during their lifetime.

What most people don’t know about Debby, is that she is gifted with the ability to sense others from the other side. She feels most people can do this.  Listen quietly and know the difference between your inner voice and those of others.  Ancient Cemetery has a wonderful and safe feeling for her and being there gives her peace of mind and soul.

Debby is working part time as office manager/ bookkeeper for a Philanthropist. 

Bill Bullock

Bill Bullock is a lifelong resident of Cape Cod. He has lived in Dennis for the last 25 years but grew up in Yarmouth.  


He has been involved with the Friends of Ancient Cemetery from the beginning.  Working for the Town of Yarmouth Cemetery Department, he got involved with the FoAC by default. but he has enjoyed every minute being a part of such a fantastic group of people. He keeps Ancient Cemetery neatly mowed and safe for visitors and volunteers.


He feels he can contribute knowledge to all volunteers on the basics of headstone cleaning and restoration.

Jerrell W. Cleaves

Jerrell W. Cleaves, currently living in Yarmouth Port, has been a Cape Cod Resident for 69 years. She is a 1961 graduate of Barnstable High School. This is her third-year volunteering with the Friends of Ancient Cemetery. 

She is a former Registrar and Vice Regent of the Cape chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution and a registered volunteer genealogist with DAR.  Jerrell is also a life member of the General Society of the Mayflower Descendants.  She has had many years doing genealogy research and spent many hours wondering around the cemeteries of her ancestors.

An interesting fact about Jerrell is that she was an art major in college in South Carolina and spent time in London England as an art student at the Heatherly School of Fine Art.

She was an office manager for her brother-in-law's surgical practice.  Jerrell loves to travel and worked as a Travel Agent for many years.

Kelsey Cronin

Kelsey Cronin lives in Sandwich, MA. She became a Cape Cod resident when her father was stationed at Joint Base Cape Cod in 2012.  


Kelsey became a volunteer with the Friends of Ancient Cemetery in April of 2023. She was inspired by the respect and dignity that FOAC volunteer gravestone cleaners show to those who have passed away. Kelsey is passionate about historic preservation and felt her values aligned with FOAC’s volunteer efforts to document, preserve and share local Cape Cod history.

She enjoys traveling, going to art galleries & museums, and spending time outdoors with family and friends. 

 Kelsey has a BA in Art History and Arts Administration. While in the position of Collections Care & Management Assistant Intern at Heritage Museum & Gardens (2018-2022) she gained the necessary experience to be hired by FOAC to complete the cemetery map project. Kelsey is currently the Assistant Curator at the Wing Fort House & History Center in East Sandwich, MA.

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Dawn Ericson-Taylor

Dawn Ericson-Taylor has been living on Cape Cod since 1992 except for an 8-year hiatus in South Carolina.

Dawn saw an appeal for volunteers on Facebook. As a lover of Cape Cod and American history, she believed she would love doing this, and she has! 2022 will be her third year as a Volunteer with the Friends of Ancient Cemetery.

She and her partner own a 1770 three-quarter Cape Style home. Her hobbies and interests are gardening and do it yourself home improvement.  And in her spare time, she enjoys, crafting, baking/cooking, beach combing, Cape Cod & American history, hiking and walking trails.
Dawn’s life mantra is to leave something better than when she found it, be it a person, place, or thing. She sees this as both a skill and contribution.

Her college degree is in Regional/ Community planning. However, a volunteer opportunity with special Olympics her senior year of college sparked her interest in human Services. 2022 marks 30 years working in human services.She is currently employed with Elder Services of Cape Cod & the Islands as the Manager of the volunteer resource center.

Paul Gray

Paul Gray lives in Yarmouth Port with his wife Barbara. They moved to the Cape in 2012 after 21 years in Texas and 16 in Longmeadow MA. They chose the Cape partly for its beauty and relative peace and quiet, but more importantly because it is closer to one of their three children, and within easy driving distance to many old friends in Longmeadow.

His primary reasons for becoming a FoAC volunteer in 2021 was first to honor his good friend and neighbor Steve Gavin, who enjoyed being a volunteer in 2020, and who died in April 2021. And secondly because he and his wife live on Center Street near 6A, a short distance from the cemetery. They frequently walked through the cemetery and were fascinated by the history of those who lie there. He noticed several years ago how the restoration of the stones brightened the cemetery and seemed to be an excellent way of honoring those individuals.


Paul’s activities include leading the D/Y Newcomers kayaking group, biking, golf, pickleball, and travel (although the pandemic eliminated that in the past 2 years). He and his wife are also active in their church, Dennis Union on 6A in Dennis Village, and volunteer work with Meals on Wheels and Bay to Sound Neighbors.In his pre-retirement life, he held sales and marketing management positions at several tool and hardware companies, most recently at Stanley Black & Decker.

Chris Greeley

When Chris Greeley’s mom told her that she had family members that were passengers on the ship Defence that arrived in Boston in 1635, and that her lineal bloodline descended from an ancestor who aided in achieving American Independence, she was hooked on genealogy.  
For over 40 years she was a seasonal Cape Cod resident. In 2004 she became a full-time resident and is currently residing in West Yarmouth in a house she and her husband built in 2006.

In 2018, Chris joined the effort to clean cemetery stones in the Ancient Cemetery.  The first stone she was assigned to clean was located under a shaded tree.  It was unreadable. As she washed and scraped away the dirt and lichen, Thomas and Phoebe Bray’s names were revealed telling her they were buried 200 years ago.

Chris is a School Committee member for Cape Cod Technical Regional School and serves on several subcommittees. Prior to moving to the Cape full time, she was an administrator in the Westwood Public Schools, advancing to become the Director of Student Services.  She has received many awards:  Outstanding Young Woman of America in 1972, Citizen of the Year from the Yarmouth Police Department and was named an Unsung Heroine in 2018 by the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women. She is a member of the DAR (Daughters of American Revolution).


Most people that know Chris don’t know that most of her schooling was in Montreal and Toronto Canada where she grew up with four siblings.Her activities include miniatures, sewing, making greeting cards and scrapbooking.

Sharon Thurston

Sharon Thurston and her husband moved to Dennis from Newton Massachusetts in 2015.


She was introduced to the FoAC by her friend Debby Bianchi. They make a wonderful team! This will be Sharon’s second year with the FoAC. Debby & Sharon produced a short video available on the volunteer’s web page, What's in My Bucket, which gives a brief tutorial about how to clean gravestones.


She enjoys the beach, practicing yoga, music, photography, art, dance, gardening, and spending time with family and friends.

Sharon has a degree in photography from The New England School of Photography. The cemetery has “art” throughout just waiting to be photographed and documented.


Sharon was a screen printer for 15 years followed by 15 years as a pre-school teacher. She is now retired.

Judi Trainor

Judi Trainor lives in Plymouth. She has had a summer home in Dennis for 25 years.


In 2019 Judi was recruited by Laurel Gabel to join the Friends of Ancient Cemetery.  She is a longtime member of the Association for Gravestone Studies (AGS).


Her hobby is finding, photographing, and researching "cause of death" gravestones (these are gravestones on which are inscribed the way someone died such as struck by lightning or kicked by a horse). In the Ancient Cemetery she has focused on those that were lost at sea.


Her special contribution to the FoAC is designing PowerPoint presentations on gravestone related topics, research and narration for the first audio tour of Ancient Cemetery.

Judi is happy to be part of FoAC, members of which consider it perfectly normal to be interested in gravestones and spend time visiting cemeteries. Cleaning gravestones was the ideal activity to get her through the isolation of Covid. She has been studying gravestones for more than 20 years and attends the annual conference of the AGS.  She has given talks at the conference on a variety of gravestone related topics.


Judi retired in 2018 as the Associate VP of Finance at Worcester Polytechnic Institute.  Her financial background qualifies her to serve as Treasurer of Friends of Ancient Cemetery.

Pauline Schafer

Pauline Schafer, a native of Cape Cod lives in Centerville.

Her interest in local history of Cape Cod Towns brought her to become involved with the Friends of Ancient Cemetery.  In 2022 she will be starting her fourth year.

Pauline is interested in reading, architecture, local history and gardening. She has a small vegetable garden, a perennial cutting garden and uses annuals to fill in between the blooming times of her perennials and shrubs.
Her contribution to FoAC is cleaning gravestones so that people can realize the history in their backyards and have access to their ancestral histories. She wants to highlight the foundation our forebearers have laid.

Pauline was a Mortgage Banker & Office manager for an Accountant.

David Schafer

David Schafer has been a Cape Cod resident for 57 years.  He is currently living in Centerville. Previously lived in New Jersey.

He has been a volunteer for 3 years with the Friends of Ancient Cemetery and got interested in being involved with this group because of his love of the History of Cape Cod.

David’s hobbies and interest are local History and its ties to the American Revolution. Especially Vessels and their Crews operating in the waters off New England’s coastline during the Revolution.

Research is his special skill. His research is used to identify men and women who participated in the struggle for Independence, and who are buried in the cemeteries of Cape Cod.David was a Residential Home Building Contractor.

Nancy Ann Hunley

Nancy Ann Hunley, a resident of Yarmouth Port for 22 years, has been volunteering with the Friends of Ancient Cemetery for the past 3 years. One of her reasons for joining this group was her interest in history in general and specifically family history. She likes to restore things so future generations can learn from and appreciate the past. She loves to make miniature furniture and she enjoys sewing, weaving, and knitting. She is very detail oriented, which helps not only with the cleaning but with research of the stones.

Nancy was a professional ballet dancer and taught ballet for many years.  She studied under several famous ballet dancers including George Balanchine and Hilda Butsova.  Nancy won the prestigious title Miss Dance of America in 1964. 

She had a career in meeting and convention planning. Her clients included biomedical and pharmaceutical companies including Johnson and Johnson as well as other companies like Ferrero Chocolates.

Ruth Weissberger

Ruth Weissberger has lived in Yarmouth Port since 1999.

Because of her interest in gravestones and carvers in 2018 she was asked to be a part of the Friends of Ancient Cemetery. Ruth was happy to be a part of caring for the stones.

Her Hobbies and interests are painting, writing and working in the garden.

Ruth is a juried artist and a published book author.  She has written historical programs and has given historical tours. She has also written newspaper articles regarding Yarmouth history.

What most people don’t know about her is that she is dedicated to animal care (wildlife and domestic) and conservation. When employed she was a nurse and Dr. of Psychological Counseling with certification in medical psychotherapy and hypnosis.

Nancy Mumford

Nancy Mumford spent her childhood in Yarmouth Port but now lives in Marstons Mills.She has been involved with the Friends of Ancient Cemetery for3 years. She has been involved with the Historical Society of Old Yarmouth and a FindaGrave volunteer for several years.

Nancy heard that FoAC was looking for volunteers to do genealogical research on the people buried in Ancient Cemetery. Being a hobby genealogist for most of her adult life, this was right up her alley.  She loves doing it and hopes to continue.

Her special skill and contribution is Genealogy. Her other interests and hobbies are sewing, DIY home projects, and Gardening. She leads a group of volunteers repairing antique clothing for display at the Bangs Hallet House Museum. She is also pretty good with computers, desktop publishing and social media.

Nancy is a native of Cape Cod and a descendent of Halletts, Thachers, and other Yarmouth families - many of whom are buried at Ancient Cemetery. She feels very lucky to have experienced growing up here during the 1960s before the population exploded.

As a young adult she worked for a local commuter airline out of Hyannis. After her children were grown, she started working for some of the local libraries and now works for the CLAMS Library Network in database maintenance.

Lori Larsen

Lori Larsen lives in Yarmouth Port and has been a resident of Cape Cod for 49 years.

2022 will be her third-year volunteering with the FoAC. She has been interested in being involved since attending a Historical Society of Yarmouth presentation at the cemetery. Plus, she is obsessed with cemeteries!

Lori enjoys gardening, beaching, traveling, painting and reading. She describes herself as a compassionate people person. Nearly everything she owns is second hand. She calls herself secondhand Rose.

Lori has worked extensively in the wine business and has traveled to many wine producing parts of the world.

Faith Snowden

Faith Snowden has lived in Yarmouth Port for 62 years. She lives immediately next to the southwest corner of Ancient Cemetery. Because of her proximity, she keeps a neighborly eye on the Cemetery and notifies the Town of any mischief she sees happening.

Faith has been a volunteer at Friends of Ancient Cemetery for 3 years. She got involved with this group because she wanted to do something to help clean stones and beautify the cemetery.

She is well known around the Cape at craft festivals and fairs where she offers her handmade (beautiful and popular) nosegay-stitch Irish Fisherman type sweaters for sale. Several FoAC can be spotted wearing one of her warm sweaters on chilly days.

Her contribution to the FoAC is to clean and make the stones readable and beautiful. Faith has been a telephone operator and a manager at a fabric and yarn store.

Cindy Marvin

Cindy Marvin has been a resident of Yarmouth Port for 22 years and has been volunteering with the Friends of Ancient Cemetery for the past 3 years.

She became interested in genealogy when her dad shared that she had family members who were part of the great migration from England arriving in Boston in 1635 abord the ship Increase. Her minister family eventually settled in Hartford, Connecticut.

Her fascination with cemeteries began early in life. As a child in Salem, Massachusetts, her home was across the street from the Greenlawn Cemetery, her favorite place to ride her bike. In 2018 she attended a gravestone cleaning session at the Howes Cemetery in Dennis and wanted Yarmouth to also allow cemetery beautification with gravestone cleaning.

She enjoys gardening (vegetable, perennial, pollinator), cooking, birding, photography, reading and exploring Cape beaches and walking nature trails.An interesting fact is Cindy graduated as the Valedictorian of Nantucket High School class of 1968.


Cindy was employed as a Medical Technologist for an international biomedical company for 25 years were she installed computers and laboratory equipment, and taught customers how to run and maintain the equipment. In late winter, you will find her using her technology skills at the UMass Cranberry Station analyzing cranberries from various Massachusetts bogs for acidity, color, and sugar content. The results help the growers improve fruit yield, fruit quality and disease resistance under Massachusetts growing conditions.

Laurel K. Gabel

Laurel Gabel was born in Ohio and lived in Boston, San Francisco, and Rochester, NY before becoming a Yarmouth Port resident 21 years ago.  She lives with a cat named Thacher and a husband named Ron.

In 2018, she was quick to answer the call for volunteers to clean gravestones in Ancient Cemetery because of her background and passion for the study of gravestones.  But what about the inscriptions, epitaphs, and carved art?  It was this need to preserve the chiseled history that prompted the Laurel and Melanie team to organize a community of volunteers to photograph, clean, record, and catalog Yarmouth’s oldest burying ground. She is a long-time member of the Association for Gravestone Studies.

Laurel’s other interests, which retreat to the background when gravestones are in focus, are: early diaries, needlework samplers, social history, research, and travel.  In a previous lifetime, she was a nurse at a residential girl’s school.  Only a few people know that Laurel’s other name is ‘Sunbeam.’ 

Melanie Barron

Since 2007, Melanie Barron has lived in Yarmouth Port in a 1741 Sea Captain’s house. One of the so-called “Three Sisters”.She has been with the FoAC since 2018. In 2017 she met Pat Armstrong, then Yarmouth Director of Parks, Recreation and Cemeteries, to discuss volunteering to work with Town cemetery files. Pat had just been awarded a grant from the Yarmouth Community Preservation Fund to preserve gravestones in Yarmouth cemeteries.

In 2018 Pat recruited volunteers including Melanie and Laurel Gabel, to clean Ancient Cemetery gravestones.  Melanie knew of Laurel’s knowledge and experience with the history of gravestones and what could be done to preserve them.  So, Melanie volunteered to help document the preservation work if Laurel would agree to play a major role. Laurel did! The challenge of supporting the FoAC to be a thriving project, and learning about Yarmouth history, cemeteries (and even how to make videos) has kept Melanie involved.

Her interest in Southwest American Art was stimulated by many visits to New Mexico and Arizona.  Now, her interest is also focused on voter registration in the states where it has been made difficult for people to vote.

Melanie’s special skill is writing grant proposals to support programs such as the Friends of Ancient Cemetery.

What most people don’t know about Melanie is that from 1967 – 1972, she taught science in a New York City public Junior High School.  It was an exciting time, with two teachers’ strikes and the fight to decentralize the school system. She was a K-12 Science Coordinator for the Cambridge Public Schools, for 17 years. Previously, she was an Assistant Professor at SUNY Stony Brook, in New York.

Kelly Morton

 Kelly Morton lives in the village of Cummaquid and has been a Cape Cod resident for 52 years. 


She has been a volunteer with the Friends of Ancient Cemetery for 3 yrs. She got interested in being involved with the FoAC because she lived near a beautiful cemetery.


Kelly cleaned the stones of the Howland family and produced a video about her experience which you can see on our video page here. She often takes her guard dog and companion Mikey to the cemetery who waits patiently in the car while she is cleaning stones.


Kelly loves to garden. An interesting fact is that she has been growing a variety of roses for many years.  Some were planted 25 to 30 years ago!


Kelly’s is a retired Real Estate Broker.

Maureen Sullivan

Maureen Sullivan lives in West Yarmouth and has been a Cape Cod resident for more than 50 years.

This is her 2nd year volunteering with the Friends of Ancient Cemetery. She got interested in becoming involved with FoAC as she enjoys local history. Maureen has been a docent at the Judah Baker Windmill since 2016 and a library assistant with Dennis Historical Society.
She enjoys reading, gardening, and photography. Her special contribution to this group is research.

What you may not know about Maureen is that she served in the United States Air Force.
She worked for 23 years with the Dennis-Yarmouth School District and is currently a genealogical researcher.

Pat Armstrong

Pat Armstrong lives in South Yarmouth and has been a Cape Cod resident for 35 years.  She was previously employed as the Director of Community Services for the Town of Yarmouth.

She has volunteered with the Friends of Ancient Cemetery for just under a year.  When she was a town employee, she started the project and upon retirement, she decided to continue working on this project.

Pat is a trained classical singer. She has sung since college in a number of auditioned choirs and chorales. She presently sings with the Outer Cape Chorale.  She likes to fly fish and taking her boat out on Bass River. When on dry land, you will find her in her ever-expanding vegetable garden.

Her special skill or contribution is that she is comfortable asking for donations. She has some strong connections with the Town and is familiar with many Cemetery Directors throughout the state who she can reach out to for suggestions and new ideas. 


 What you may not know about Pat is that she sings in a ukulele band called the Ukeladies.

Tom Burgess

Stephen Hopkins, of Mayflower fame, is Tom’s 9th great-Grandfather through 21 different lines!

Tom’s major interests are travel and sports, particularly Tennis where he participates in tournaments including the Florida Senior Games.

Tom Burgess is a Cape Cod summer resident. He lives in Florida most of the year.

He has been involved with the Friends of Ancient Cemetery for two years.

His interest is due to the number of his ancestors buried in the Ancient Cemetery. His 8th Grandfather (of the same name) was one of the original settlers of Sandwich and served 7 terms as the Sandwich representative to the Plymouth Government. His son John moved to Yarmouth and in 1657 married Mary Worden, the granddaughter of Peter Worden, generally considered the first permanent Pilgrim settler in Yarmouth. John later became Yarmuth’s representative to Plymouth. Tom’s direct line has been in Yarmouth and Harwich ever since. So, the Crowell’s, Hopkins, Nickerson’s, Taylors etc. are direct ancestors or cousins. It wasn't a huge gene pool.

Allegra Davis

Allegra Davis lives in Hillsdale, NY.

She has been a volunteer for one year with the Friends of Ancient Cemetery. Allegra got involved because she grew up minutes from the Ancient Cemetery in Yarmouth Port. She went for frequent walks to investigate the stones throughout her childhood, and she was thrilled to learn of this effort to conserve and document the cemetery. She is grateful for the opportunity to contribute remotely and to deepen her connection to the Ancient Cemetery.  

Allegra enjoys hiking, reading, sewing, cooking/baking, antiquing, anything related to museums and historic preservation, and of course, exploring old graveyards. 

An interesting fact is that Allegra was a three-time best in show youth flower arrangement winner at the Barnstable County Fair. 

She is currently employed full time as a Curatorial Assistant at Olana, the estate and house museum of 19th-century painter Frederic Church in Hudson, NY. 

Victoria Krukowski

Victoria Krukowski has been a volunteer for 2 years with the Friends of Ancient Cemetery. She and her husband moved into a 270-year-old house in Yarmouth Port three years ago. They became very interested in the history of the home and of the original owners, the Dunbar family. The family is buried in the Ancient Cemetery. Two of the sons were Captains and were both lost at sea.

She is a musician, and her husband is a photographer. They are absolutely thrilled to be living in Yarmouth Port, as it is an incredibly special place. This is exactly where they want to be for the rest of their lives.

An interesting fact about Victoria is that she and her husband have seven children. The Dunbar family had eight!

Victoria is a clarinetist that has played for 30 years in professional symphonies, 18 years with the Syracuse Symphony Orchestra. She currently is the Events Manager for the Yarmouth New Church in Yarmouth Port.

Julie Esposito

Julie Esposito lives in Stoneham, Massachusetts. She has been a volunteer with the Friends of Ancient Cemetery for one year.

Julie’s sister is a stone cleaner and together they have spent many years researching and seeking out ancestors in cemeteries all over the Cape. They have strong ties to Yarmouth, so joining FoAC was a welcome and natural step.

Her hobbies and interests are genealogy, reading, creative writing, and nature walks.

Her special skill and contribution is genealogical research.

Thomas Houston

For 40 years, Thomas Houston had been a seasonal Cape Cod resident.  Three and a half years ago he and his family made Yarmouth Port their permanent home.  

Thomas has been volunteering for 2 years with the Friends of Ancient Cemetery. He can see the graves from his house, across the street, so he doesn’t have a long commute to the Ancient Cemetery.

He enjoys riding his fat bike, running, hockey, beach walks with the dog, fishing, shell fishing, and kayaking.  Anything outdoors!

Thomas’s special skill is that he is a history teacher at Sturgis West High School. His interest and knowledge of history are assets to the FoAC purpose. He likes to teach about many topics.  He recently taught units for IB (International Baccalaureate) History about Ireland, India, and Brazil.  

It may surprise you to know that he enjoys listening to heavy metal music. He likes Metallica, Black Sabbath, Ghost, and Slayer.

He is a reservist in the US Coast Guard.  For the Coast Guard he works in Marine Safety and Oil spill and Hazardous Material response.

Deb Yonker-Hecht

Deb Yonker-Hecht moved to Yarmouth Port from western Michigan in 2018 and has been a volunteer with the Friends of Ancient Cemetery for nearly as long as she's been here. Her hobbies include gardening and quilting. Her interests are travel and history.

Her special skill is that she is very detail oriented which is important when researching ancestral information. She is a professional genealogist, archival volunteer for the Historic Society of Old Yarmouth and a local voting officer.

Most people don’t know that Deb is a citizen of both the United States and the United Kingdom.

Her previous employment and experience include secondary teacher, adult education, museum registrar and assistant collections manager, and video production.

Dorothy Robinson

Dorothy Robinson lives in West Yarmouth but grew up in Concord Massachusetts.


History intrigues her - the stories behind the stones, the gravestone designs, and cemeteries in general. Over the years, she has wandered through numerous cemeteries, done rubbings (when you could), and wondered about the lives of those buried there. Ancient Cemetery is peaceful and full of local history, plus her parents are buried there. Working for the past year on the genealogies for FOAC is a natural extension of her love of history.


Dorothy and her husband have researched and written historical genealogies and articles for publication. Their third book, short stories on Pilgrims, family genealogies, and Cape Cod tales is nearly finished. They are involved in the HSOY and Cape Cod Genealogical Society. They have organized family reunions building on the research they compiled which includes roaming through cemeteries. 


She likes to sing and belongs to a chorus and choir.  She enjoys herb gardening, collecting teas, reading, the beach, and socializing…. again.


As a genealogist and historian, she enjoys researching daily. She frequently assists others with their family tree.


An interesting fact is Dorothy  was a contestant on Jeopardy and Concentration with host Hugh Downs, winning prizes, and money. It was a fun time and the bedroom set she won is still being used.  Long gone are the other prizes of cars, fur coats and diamonds.


Dorothy was the Director of Instruction and Technology at a Regional Education Service Center that served 26 towns in southeastern Connecticut. Her department provided professional development, maintained the largest media library in the state, offered inter-district programs for students, wrote grants, and instructed teachers in use of latest technology and methods.

Amy Holmes

Amy Holmes is living in South Yarmouth with a wonderful husband, three amazing kids and three rescue puppies.  Her family moved to the Cape when she was 4 years old. She has been living on the Cape for over 4 decades.


This will be her third year as a volunteer with the Friends of Ancient Cemetery.  She got interested in becoming a member of the FoAC because of her and her husband’s love of, and family ties to history. Amy has Scottish relatives who fought at the Battle of Culloden. And her husband is a registered descendant with the Mayflower Society-Standish, Bradford, Mullens, Hopkins and Alden.


At the Ancient Cemetery, she has cleaned Reverend Timothy Alden’s family stone, the founder of the First Congregational Church of Yarmouth Port, as well as another stone that had an epithet of Reverend Alden.

Besides Amy’s love for history, she also interested in theater and travel.  Her special skill, to quote Amy, is that she loves to talk.  And she loves to help in any way she can and is always up for a new adventure.


Most people don’t know that she lived in Japan and in San Diego.


She is in her fourteenth year as manager of regional support services, communication and scheduling for Ophthalmic Consultants of Boston.

Mary Woodward

Mary Woodward has lived full time in Yarmouth Port for several years. She’s a new volunteer with the Friends of Ancient Cemetery. She lives very close to the cemetery and is interested in history.

Rob Woodward

Rob Woodward lives in Yarmouth Port. He has been a full time Cape Cod resident since moving here a few years ago. He’s a new volunteer with the Friends of Ancient Cemetery and got interested in being a volunteer with the FOAC because he walks by the cemetery daily.

Mary is currently the Vice President for Historical Society of Yarmouth Port, works with the Indigenous Peoples committee and she also works for Historic New England as Lead Guide at the Winslow Crocker House in Yarmouth Port. 

She is an art historian and enjoys travel and photography.  Mary went to high school in both Norway and England!

His interests are travel and reading. Rob has a science and engineering background. He has lived in 16 different towns and cities throughout the United States and England before deciding to choose Cape Cod as home as it has the perfect mix of history, climate, and proximity to a big city. He is currently working at Azenta Life Science as the Head of Quality.

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