March 15, 2023

Lancaster Rural Cemetery Merges with the Forest Lawn Cemetery Group

On June 14, 2022, with the approval of the New York State Division of Cemeteries and the New York State Supreme Court, the Erie County Legislature, Forest Lawn’s Board of Trustees and lot owners and Lancaster Rural Cemetery’s Board of Directors and lot owners, Lancaster Rural Cemetery has merged with the Forest Lawn Cemetery and Crematory Group.

The Town of Lancaster’s oldest cemetery, located at the northwest corner of Cemetery Road and Broadway, will now be owned and operated by the Forest Lawn Cemetery and Crematory Group, which includes Forest Lawn, St. Matthew’s Cemetery in West Seneca, Lakeside Cemetery in Hamburg, two cemeteries in the Village of Williamsville – Williamsville Cemetery and Gethsemane Cemetery – as well as the Forest Lawn Cremation Company.

“We are very pleased to pass the stewardship of Lancaster Rural Cemetery to the Forest Lawn Group, one of New York State’s strongest, most well run not-for-profit cemetery organizations,” said Lancaster Rural Cemetery’s Board Secretary Audrey Keysa.  This merger with the Forest Lawn Group, which has a proven track record of successful mergers with other cemeteries, will assure the future of Lancaster Rural Cemetery – keeping the promise of perpetual care made to all those who rest within our gates.”

No changes to Lancaster Rural Cemetery After the Merger

“The families of those interred at Lancaster Rural Cemetery and those who own burial space here will be very pleased to know that there will be no changes to the cemetery following the merger,” Keysa said. “It will be maintained by the same people who have been doing so for years, and there will be no increase in the cost of burial space or any service fees.”

Forest Lawn Group President Joseph Dispenza added “Now the families of Lancaster Rural Cemetery will be able to take advantage of other benefits which are exclusively available at Forest Lawn Group cemeteries. For example, for families choosing cremation, we allow multiple cremation urns (up to 4 urns) to be buried in a single grave.  That can represent a significant cost savings, but more importantly, will assure that a family can remain together forever.”

“In addition, a free memorial page, where family and friends can post photos, videos, and stories about their loved one is be established on our website for every individual who is interred at any of our cemeteries. We also provide grief support to families who have lost a loved one. And we allow pets (cremated, domestic pets) to be buried with their owner in all our cemeteries,” Dispenza said.

“For many years, the Board of Directors of the Lancaster Rural Cemetery Association has been proud to serve the families of those who are interred here and provide them with the finest in perpetual care,” Keysa said.  “We are now pleased to entrust the highly experienced and very capable leadership of the Forest Lawn Group with this sacred responsibility.”