Cemetery task force led by South Side native

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In the wake of the Burr Oak Cemetery scandal, Gov. Pat Quinn selected a South Side native to lead a nine-member state task force charged with recommending new laws that could prevent another cemetery debacle from happening again.

In the wake of the Burr Oak Cemetery scandal, Gov. Pat Quinn selected a South Side native to lead a nine-member state task force charged with recommending new laws that could prevent another cemetery debacle from happening again.

Patricia Brown Holmes, 48, is a private attorney who grew up in the Morgan Park community and graduated from George H. Corliss High School.

The University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana grad is a corporate attorney and oversees the White Crime Group at the Chicago-based law firm of Schiff Hardin LLP. She is the first minority, female equity partner there.

Like so many families with loved ones at Burr Oak Cemetery, 4400 W. 127th St. in south suburban Alsip, Holmes is also hurting for what she described as a “horrible and despicable act.”

Her brother, who died of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome three months after birth, and her father are buried at Burr Oak.

“I have not checked to see if their graves were disturbed because my fear is their headstones will not be found,” Holmes told the Defender. “My brother was buried in the Baby Land section, and my dad’s headstone was located near there. From what I have heard, the Baby Land section no longer exists.”

Her duties primarily are to moderate meetings and write up a draft of recommendations the task force comes up with to present to the governor.

“We are looking at other states like California, New York and Florida that have cemetery regulations in place to see if it would be feasible here,” she said.

The task force held its first public meeting July 23 at the James R. Thompson Center and its next meeting is Aug. 6 at Percy Julian High School, 10330 S. Elizabeth, at 5:30 p.m.

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