Mary Larsen is sure her husband's spirit is smiling on Highland.
More than 30 volunteers toiled in the searing summer heat on Saturday, installing a sprinkler system and laying sod in the four plats surrounding Larsen's grave in the northwest corner of Highland's yet-to-be-started city cemetery."It looks wonderful," Larsen said. "What makes it special to me is that this is a true act of love."
City officials hesitantly agreed to abide by Larsen's dying wish to be buried in a field where Highland hopes to build a memorial park. He died last week after a battle with cancer.
Plans for the grassy, unkempt 14 acres near 6000 West and U-92 have not been approved, and plats have not been filed with the county recorder. Construction and landscaping wasn't scheduled to start until this fall.
Mary Larsen said she believed the Council would eventually relent to the burial request. Greg Larsen decided he wanted to be buried in Highland, where he spent the last two decades of his 47-year life.
"He was not afraid of being innovative or doing something different," she said, noting her husband knew he might be buried in the middle of an old pasture before cemetery plans took root.
The city administrator and attorney both advised the Council against allowing the interment before ordinances were approved and fees were established. But Mayor Jess Adamson said he wasn't convinced "that it wasn't the right thing to do."
Some 120 plots have now been made available for emergency burials of Highland residents. A part of the cemetery could be open by January.