Situated on a quiet hill just to the southeast of town, Ninnekah Cemetery is a pristine, peaceful place.

That's the exact reason Faye Barnett's husband, Lloyd, wanted to be buried there.

But the process of setting his final resting place has become more than Faye can handle, mainly due to a very rooted presence: a big cedar tree that requires donations to be removed.

In the northeast corner of the cemetery lay the plots she and her husband purchased between 30 and 31 years ago, Faye said. There's some discrepancy as to whether or not their lots were actually planned to be one site over, but when Lloyd passed away in November, someone was already buried there.

Now he lies in the shade of this large tree, but there's a problem. It's size prevents a head stone from being set, and more importantly there's barely any room for Faye to lie next to him.

"I can't put my husbands stone there and I can't be burried there," Faye said.

Originally, she said, Lloyd was buried there under the impression that the tree would be coming out. The cemetery, however, can't do this on its own accord, since the Barnetts technically owned the land.

"When they purchased that lot, it became their property," Gene Stephens, a caretaker and trustee of the cemetery land, said. "I don't have the responsibility to do anything other than the sale of lots and marking the spot itself."

Even so, Ninnekah Cemetery operates strictly off of donations, Stephens said, and is currently working to expand across the road to the south on eight acres of more burial space.

Based on the average cost to remove a tree -- including roots since the removal of this tree must be done in a way that does not disturb other burial sites -- runs at a minimum of $500, something Faye said she cannot afford on her own.

Faye said she believes the cemetery is responsible for tree removal, but there is nothing in Oklahoma law that seems to help her case.

"The cemetery has no expense, and it never has," Stephenson said. "The cemetery does not own that land any more."

And even if those buried around the plot would like to keep the tree, Stephenson said it's out of their hands.

"They really don't have a say-so in it, because it's on her plot," he said.

So to help Faye Barnett have the plot she desires, the The Express-Star is donating to and sponsoring a fundraiser through An Oklahoma City-based tree removal company estimated the cost at $1,100, but that is without actually visiting the site. The fundraiser goal is set for $2,000 with any leftover funds going to Ninnekah Cemetery directly.

Local residents can contribute within their means through the page in an effort to resolve the issue and give Faye the final resting place she desires right next to Lloyd, just as they planned many decades ago.

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