Recognition for my Grandfather


     Last Sunday, I got to attend a party for my grandpa, Allen McCloskey. Over 70 years ago, my grandpa dug his first grave at Center cemetery just North of Young America. He was paid an amount of $10 in 1952 for digging the grave of Mr. Joe Williamson. For the first 7-8 years, my grandpa dug all of the graves by hand. In 1958, he bought his first backhoe, a Ford 8N from one of his school teachers at Young America. He used this Ford Backhoe for about a decade and a half. Then, he bought a Case 580CK backhoe, which he still uses till this day. He has dug over 5,600 graves throughout his lifetime. Besides digging graves for over 70 years, my grandpa has also had many other occupations. He was one of the first welders in the state, so he did a lot of farm machinery repair for farmers in the Cass county area. He also did a lot of woodworking right out of high school for extra cash. Since he also knew how to operate a backhoe, he dug a lot of septic systems, footers, crawlspaces, and basements for many people around this community. Throughout the 1970’s, he also worked at Continental Steel Mill in Kokomo. After Continental closed down in the 70-80’s, he began taking on even more cemeteries around Young America, Galveston, Burlington, Walton, etc. During this time, my grandpa dug at over 23 cemeteries in this area. So, if you have a parent, grandparent, or even a great-grandparent that is buried in this area, especially in Galveston cemetery, he most likely dug their grave. 

     My grandpa continued to dig at all of these cemeteries until around 2013. In 2013, he quit all of the cemeteries besides Galveston. He continues to dig at Galveston cemetery to this day. Around 2 ½ years ago, my dad started filing for a Guinness World Record. For those who don’t know, applying for a Guinness World Record is a very time consuming, and tedious process. In total, there were 39 different pieces of evidence my dad submitted to achieve this record. Since the people at Guinness are located in London, contacting them wasn’t always very easy. There wasn’t even a direct email they can be reached consistently at. My dad had to write on this form on their website each team he had to send in more evidence. And every time he would submit more pieces of evidence, they would respond with “Insufficient Evidence” or “More Information Required.” So, January 12, 2023 the record was officially granted. After this, my dad started planning a surprise party for him. He decided it would be held at Center Church. It was important we held it at Center for a few reasons. We held it at Center because this is where he dug his first grave, this is where my grandpa and grandma got married in 1966. Since my grandpa has lived around this year his whole 89 year old life, we had to limit the amount of people we could invite to his surprise party. Even though over 200 people were in attendance, there were many, many more we wished we could’ve invited. 

     After the fact, however, my grandpa was very thankful for the award. He was completely surprised by it. He mentioned many people at the party that he hadn’t seen in decades.