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Evans volunteers find a tombstone on the beach

Posted at 11:42 PM, Sep 11, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-12 18:03:30-04

EVANS, N.Y. (WKBW) — For years, Sharen Trembath has organized beach cleanups along the shore of Lake Erie. She runs the Great Lakes Beach Sweep here in Western New York. Trembath and the volunteers who help her, find just about everything and anything.

“We found a parachute,” listed Trembath. “A coastguard battery.” Last Friday, one of Trembath's fellow beach cleaners found something odd.

“I thought maybe it was a prop, or something else, but its 200 pounds,” said Trembath.

Along the shores of Lake Erie in Evans, someone found a tombstone. It belongs to Elmer M. Rudolph. A World War II veteran, he died 50 years ago. Trembath did some digging. She found an obituary and now know Rudolph was buried in Elmlawn Cemetery in Tonawanda.

How Rudolph's headstone got in Evans, she doesn’t know.

“It could have been just in somebody's backyard, I don't know why, that's your best answer,” said Trembath. She says someone told her that there could have been an error on the tombstone and the block could have been used for fill in someone’s backyard.

She’s hoping anyone with information about the tombstone could email her at:

A staff member at Elmlawn Cemetery says Rudolph is buried at the cemetery, he has a tombstone with both his and his wife's name. Rudolph died in 1969 and his wife died in 1984, the cemetery believes the tombstone that washed up was the original that was replaced.

The cemetery is not sure how the tombstone could have ended up on the beach.