Medina historian completes second book on Boxwood Cemetery

Photo by Ginny Kropf: Medina historian Todd Bensley has released his second book on Boxwood Cemetery. He holds copies of his first book, released in 2016, and the latest addition, just released. Both are available at Author’s Note.

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 16 April 2024 at 7:58 am

MEDINA – Old cemeteries and history have always interested Todd Bensley, so it is no surprise when he became Medina historian and a member of Friends of Boxwood that his research should prompt him to write a book.

“Boxwood Cemetery – Where the Past is Present” was published in 2016, and paved the way for Bensley to start work on a second book, titled “Boxwood Cemetery, Uncovering the Past.”

“The first book was well received,” Bensley said. “And while doing all this research and creating a searchable data base for burials at Boxwood on the village’s website, I would see something of interest,” Bensley said. “This led me to dig deeper into obits. I found many things I didn’t know about before.”

One thing he discovered is that all some people have left in the world is what is on their headstone.

“Everyone has a story, whether they died in a dramatic fashion or left their mark on the community; whether they are well-known like John Ryan; or whether they are someone whose family took the time to tell in their obit what a wonderful person they were.”

Noteworthy names buried in Boxwood Cemetery include May Howard, a passenger on the Titanic, and local business icons S.A. Cook and Robert Newell, as well as numerous veterans.

One interesting incident Bensley had never heard about was the murder of two young people on Blair Road. Noreen Margaret Russell was with her boyfriend when two men shot and killed them and stole their car to go to Florida.

“I definitely learned a lot during my research,” he said.

There are 5,000 burials in Boxwood Cemetery and Bensley said he can’t count how many hundred hours he has already spent in researching them.

“It’s become a passion,” he said.

Bensley stresses that all proceeds from the sale of his books goes to Friends of Boxwood Cemetery. Books are on sale at Author’s Note for $38 for the first book and $23 for the recent release. Author’s Note will also work with purchasers to ship them their books. The store is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday, Tuesday and Saturday; and from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

Rob Klino, a member of Friends of Boxwood and owner of a newly-opened Thistleridge store at 418 Main St., also has copies of the books at his business. Thistleridge is open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday through Saturday.

In addition to Bensley, support for his books came from Boxwood Cemetery Committee; Bogan and Tuttle Funeral Home; Cooper Funeral Home; Bates, Wallace and Heath Funeral Home; Pets in Peaceful Rest and the Medina Sandstone Society.

Klino and Bensley urge the public to visit Boxwood Cemetery’s Facebook page for upcoming events to support the cemetery.