Alexandria Cemetery Gets Surprise Santa Gift

Ivy Hill Cemetery Board Chairman Sheriff Dana Lawhorne (back seat), joined Jason Yates and General Manager Lucy Goddin on a celebratory ride around the grounds aboard the sparkling new six-passenger cart from the Yates family. (Photo: Ivy Hill Cemetery)

ALEXANDRIA, VA – One thing Alexandria businessman Jeff Yates asked for before he died was to be interred at the iconic Ivy Hill Cemetery, a historic landmark where Alexandria’s notable founding families like the Humes, Burkes, and Masons are laid to rest, but he did not want to be buried underground.

An above-ground internment had never happened at the 163-year old cemetery before, but Ivy Hill, located at 2823 King Street, was special to the Yates family, and the staff was determined to make the dream come true.

Jeffrey Lee Yates, prominent businessman in Alexandria, VA, passed away peacefully on February 22, 2018 in his Alexandria home, surrounded by family, after a courageous battle with cancer. (Photo: Ivy Hill Cemetery)

Ivy Hill Cemetery General Manager Lucy Goddin said, “Jeff’s brother Jason Yates and I ‘thunk and thunk’ and walked the grounds together until we came up with an idea that would work. My husband rigged sawhorses and a tarp to simulate a crypt and we carried it all over the hillside until we found the right spot.”

The Yates family, which has owned landmark businesses in Alexandria since the sixties, was grateful and wanted to give something special back to the little cemetery for all the extra attention they gave to this burial.

Jason asked them what they really needed, and Goddin said they could use a golf cart to shuttle older and infirmed mourners to the gravesites that pepper the 22-acre site.

So, on Friday morning, December 21, 2018, Jason Yates and his team pulled up with a shiny six-passenger golf cart, already winterized and ready for immediate use.

Yes Virginia, there really is a Santa Claus.