Four Board Chairs 2005 – Present Day on Working with Dave
A fter Bill Clendaniel completed his reorganization of the Cemetery — transforming Mount Auburn from a static , though beloved , local institution to a thriving business and a national historic landscape — the Trustees were delighted to be able to continue to concentrate and expand upon the development of the landscape with Dave Barnett . It was a great pleasure to have Dave run the
Cemetery as a whole and bring the outstanding beauty and centrality of the landscape into focus . Everyone was so excited to see Dave take over as President , since he is an expert in horticulture .
In the last decade Dave both created and re-created aspects of the Cemetery by establishing new landscapes
Jim Storey and Dave , 2016 . and restoring and revitalizing older ones . The vistas inside and from the Cemetery created by Dave and his staff have made Mount Auburn into one of the most beautiful landscapes , arguably in the United States and certainly anywhere near Boston .
And he just runs everything so well . His expertise combined with his affable and engaging personality have worked to make Mount Auburn Cemetery a friendly place popular with visitors from all walks of life .
It has been a great pleasure to work with Dave — a knowledgeable , amicable and accessible leader who is extremely popular with his staff as well as with the Board of Trustees and the public .
— Jim Storey Mount Auburn Board of Trustees 1979-2011 Board Secretary from 1984-2005 Board Chair from 2005-2009
Trustees Pat Jacoby ( Trustee since 2013 , Board Chair 2018 – present ) and Tom Cooper ( Trustee since 1994 , Board Chair 2012 – 2017 ) recently reminisced about working with Dave Barnett .
TOM It was 2012 when Dave and I began meeting biweekly . Our first meeting time , 7:30AM , was “ just way too late ” for Dave , so we settled on 7:15AM at Starbucks in Watertown . Dave was very often there ahead of me with a massive cup of black coffee and a manila folder stacked with documents relating to whatever we were going to talk about , whether to prepare for a meeting or to go over specific issues . Dave loves to get into the details and down in the weeds , often literally .
My first real memory of Dave is from a couple of years after my wife , Emily , and I bought our house in Watertown . Someone had given us a Weeping Katsura tree as a house gift , and I had failed to notice that its name had “ giganteum ” in it : now it was taking over our property .
I didn ’ t really know Dave but he agreed when I asked if Mount Auburn would like this tree . So he and Claude Benoit came over and dug a hole that was probably eight feet wide and three-and-a-half feet deep to ball and burlap this tree by hand . Then he had the Capizzi company come with a crane to haul it out . It now sits in the Alice Fountain area at the Cemetery .
So my first memory of Dave is up past his knees with a shovel . This man would ultimately run a very big organization and be counted among the preeminent Cemetery people in the country and even the world — and he was just down there doing what he loves to do : gardening .
PAT I think the first time I met Dave was to talk about external relations , governance , and development at the Cemetery . I was doing all of these things at the MFA and went on to join Mount Auburn ’ s Council of Visitors — but only after Dave took me on one of his famed electric golf cart rides all over Mount Auburn , explaining every last tree , plant , rock , and notable gravesite before ending up at his favorite place , Consecration Dell .
Dave doesn ’ t just work at Mount Auburn , he lives Mount Auburn . He epitomizes the values that we came up with during the Vision and Values process . The Statement of Vision and Values talks about welcome , compassion , dignity ,