Friends of Silverbrook Cemetery


2013 Annual Report


It is with great pride and your support that the Friends of Silverbrook with the City of Niles continue to make improvements to honor the Family and Friends who are buried within our Historic Cemetery.

Bob Cooley, Berrien County Genealogical Society, and the Friends worked on headstone restorations in the older sections of the cemetery on weekdays during the summer. Two scheduled works sessions were held with four volunteers.


Martin’s Super Market and Pepsico provided us with a $300.00 grant to honor veterans buried in Silverbrook Cemetery and we purchased fifty veteran flag holders. The Friends purchase two sets of Service Flags, two POW flags, and two Medal of Honor flags annually.

A donation of a truck load of brown premium mulch from Dan Kaiser of Kaiser Landscaping in Stevensville was delivered to Silverbrook Cemetery before Memorial Day. The mulch was used to landscape the Veteran’s Memorial, Silverbrook Abbey, office building, signage, and the tree landscape projects maintained by the Friends.


The website is maintained by web designer Bob Nightingale and Editors, Mary Ellen Drolet, Debby Barkman and Vicki Caison. In 2013, 9,725 unique visitors visited the Friends website. The Obituary Search now has 5,059 listings with 733 new obits added in 2013. Of our 20,793 grave search listings online, 12,332 are linked to photographs and, 5,377 are link to obituaries. Our 50 public photo albums on PicasaWeb now have 11,861 searchable prints.

Edging around the flat markers was completed in several sections in the Garden of Memory this fall. We held 3 work sessions to inventory and photograph headstones to be edited and added to the website search listings.

Carol Bainbridge, Director of Fort St. Joseph Museum, gave a PowerPoint presentation on the history of the Chapin Family House, formerly City Hall, which is now being converted to a house museum. Friend’s members, Mike and Sue Armstrong portrayed Henry and Ruby Chapin, to greeting visitors at the front door of the Chapin House at several museum events.


The Friends purchased six gallons of high gloss black paint to apply the second coat of paint on the old chain link fencing behind Thomas Stadium, along Silverbrook Avenue, around to the corner of East Main Street. Two work sessions were scheduled with Cemetery Superintendent, Neal Mikel and Morgan Frend to complete this project.

Medal of Honor Winner, Corporal Joseph Nolan’s flagpole was damaged during a wind storm in November. The downed flag pole was removed and the Friends purchased a 20 Ft Aluminum flag pole to be installed in the spring of 2014.

We have seen a decline of theft in the cemetery this year. A donation of four security cameras from concerned citizens and Friends members were mounted throughout the cemetery over the summer. The City of Niles purchased six surveillance signs to be mounted at various locations when weather permits.


The Annual Membership Drive is held in April of each year. The membership roster currently has 169 members.

Your Membership donations funded Projects in 2013: *Purchase of two sets of Service Flags, two POW flags, and two Medal of Honor flags. *Replacement purchase of 20 FT Aluminum Flagpole for Medal of Honor Winner Corporal Nolan. *Purchase of cemetery cleaning and restoration supplies. *Purchase of 6 gallons of high gloss paint and supplies. *Purchase of 48 inch Ultra Flect driveway marker rods for road identification in snow. *Printing of membership letters, thank you note cards, cemetery maps and postage. *Annual Fee for website and P.O. Box.


Thank you for your generous donations and continued support in this endeavor.




Candace Skalla, President