2018 Baxter Award Recipient
Angela Owens Jando
Over the years since, Angela’s efforts as a dedicated volunteer have resulted in the restoration of St. Andrew’s Cemetery, as well as the completion of the many records that assist greatly in telling the stories of the many who are buried there.
Without her efforts, and those of her family, the resting places of our city’s founders, the Campau family, its pioneer priests, Fathers Viszosky and McManus, and entire generations of Irish families, the first real wave of immigrants to arrive locally, would have sunken beneath the turf in neglected silence and obscurity. But Angela would have none of this. She, and those who joined her in the battle chopped and sawed, dug and trimmed, and then x-rayed the ground until she could with admirable authority, record who among our earliest residents was buried where, and when. All of this was led and undertaken by a ‘citizen historian’, whose only compensation was a sore back, and the indefinable satisfaction that came with knowing that she had helped greatly to snatch back from obscurity a healthy slice of our history.
Happily, Angela’s quest to secure and honor some of our earliest local burial sites continues, now as an employee of the Grand Rapids Diocese, and has focused on the Holy Cross and Resurrection sites, as well as the historic and unique St. Andrew’s Cemetery. Her success in this process has awakened a similar interest in those she works with, and a great number of others in the community who, because of Angela’s continuing efforts now clearly see the treasure to be found within these local burial sites, and the great value that lies in their exploration and preservation.
Angela Jando’s status as a ‘citizen historian’ provides the clear basis for her being the recipient of the 2018 Albert Baxter Award, awarded to one who has fought to find and preserve the history of Grand Rapids and has worked to share that history with the community.