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Willie Roberts, center, Ramon Navarro, left, and John Morris, right, work together to close a grave at Mountain View Cemetery in Altadena. Roberts started working at the cemetery in 1967 when he was 18.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Katie Falkenberg / For The Times

Groundskeeper Sammy Treto wipes down the inside of a vault.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Katie Falkenberg / For The Times

Groundskeeper Brian Roberts is reflected in a mirror in one of the mausoleums at the cemetery.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Katie Falkenberg / For The Times

Sammy Treto's shadow is cast onto a casket as he lowers it into a crypt. "I'm learning I have to be strong at what I do," he said.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Katie Falkenberg / For The Times

Sammy Treto removes dirt from a lawn crypt as he prepares for a burial.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Katie Falkenberg / For The Times

Sammy Treto, left, operates the backhoe as Ramon Navarro, right, assists in lifting a piece of the top of a lawn crypt at Mountain View Cemetery in Altadena.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Katie Falkenberg / For The Times

Dark clouds are reflected in the front door of one of the mausoleums at the cemetery.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Katie Falkenberg / For The Times

A visitor takes flowers to the cemetery.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Katie Falkenberg / For The Times

Sammy Treto, right, and Ramon Navarro take a break from landscaping a cemetery garden.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Katie Falkenberg / For The Times

Brian Roberts enters the crematory at Mountain View Cemetery in Altadena.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Katie Falkenberg / For The Times

Lipsticked kisses are left on a marker at the cemetery.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Katie Falkenberg / For The Times

A balloon drifts through the cemetery after becoming detached from a grave.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Katie Falkenberg / For The Times

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Cemetery grounds keepers

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Cemetery grounds keepers

As members of the grounds and interment crews at Mountain View Cemetery, Willie Roberts and Sammy Treto put care into providing a beautiful resting place for people’s deceased loved ones. Together, they have contributed more than 68 years working at the cemetery in Altadena, California. It’s been Willie’s only job since he was 18 years old.

Each man also has a more intimate connection to this peaceful place: Willie’s mother, uncle and two brothers are interred at the Mountain View Mausoleum, and a good friend of Sammy’s lies at rest there as well.

Willie and Sammy will forever be connected to the grounds they have tended, as each has already purchased a resting place in the cemetery or mausoleum for themselves.

Watch the video by Katie Falkenberg and read full story by Thomas Curwen “Between the sacred and the mundane.”

2 Comments

  1. June 20, 2011, 8:53 pm

    [...] me of follow-up comments via email. Notify me of new posts via email. /* */ /* */ PREVIOUS POSTCemetery groundskeepersYou've reached the end [...]

  2. June 21, 2011, 6:25 pm

    Nice to know that these gentlemen show a great deal of respect for someone's loved ones remains. Kind of comforting as we all face our own mortality… God bless these men for their caring natures…..

    By: grandmaforliberty

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