Robinson’s Grave Care Services is the newest – and possibly the only – grave care provider in SLO County | Strokes & Plugs | San Luis Obispo
A Templeton genealogist’s passion for DNA testing led her from arranging adoptees and their biological families to tending graves throughout San Luis Obispo County.
Lisa Robinson is herself adopted, whose mother died almost 21 years ago and is buried in a cemetery in the San Fernando Valley.
“I’ve always relied on family and friends to put flowers down on their birthday and Mother’s Day,” she said.
Counting on many well-wishers gave her the idea of starting a property maintenance business and delivering grave flowers with her husband Loshel Robinson. The result was Robinson’s Grave Care Services.
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“We’re both known for just going to different cemeteries and we just love going to them and learning about the people from the area,” Lisa said.
Working in genealogy since 2007 has provided Lisa with solid research skills. She identified a major void in the SLO County’s market for grave cleaning and flower delivery. In the summer of 2021, the Robinsons flocked to grave maintenance books, articles, and YouTube videos. Her friends and family also let her practice cleaning her family’s tombstones and property. The pair were operational in July and have served about a dozen clients so far.
The duo create bespoke silk and fresh flower arrangements using flowers from local stores, Amazon and Trader Joe’s.
Loshel works full time as the manager of Tin City Cider Co. and a permanent agreement with his workplace gives him enough time to tend graves. Depending on the size and type of the grave – from small markers to large gravestones with bronze lettering – cleaning can take at least an hour. The Robinsons use a cleaning chemical called D / 2, which is approved by the US Department of Veterans Affairs.
“We use water and just one other ingredient for cleaning [after applying D/2]. You can use a few tricks to make bronze tombstones look better with a little car wax and buffer – this will pop the letters. It just depends on how long it takes [the plot marker] was out there and how long it was exposed, “Loshel said.
Lisa added that special tools are often recommended to work on the lettering, especially when moss and the California sun blacken labels on limestone structures. The couple return to the site after 10 days of cleaning to review progress. Which tool the Robinsons found gave the best results? A toothbrush.
Sometimes Lisa’s genealogical interests go hand in hand with serious duties of care. Helping a friend find his biological father offered her an unlikely job. Although her Kansas-born boyfriend and his wife moved from San Pedro to SLO County, Lisa found that his birth father was from the local area of Atascadero.
“It was so strange because his birth father’s name was Michael Smith, which is the hardest name to find because it’s so common,” Lisa said with a laugh. “Well, his father’s parents … I was working on their grave on Atascadero Pine Mountain [Cemetery]. ”
The friends of the Robinsons also believe in their services. Lisa said her friend insisted on giving them a donation to help support the business. It gave Lisa the idea of adding a donate button to her new website.
“Let’s say if someone lives in an assisted dormitory [and] doesn’t really have the money [to place flowers at a loved one’s grave], then [the donations can be used] to make sure they get the flowers and there are no fees for them, “she said.
The couple said their business was designed to help the community. “A beautiful soul will never be forgotten” is the slogan on her business card.
“I like being there and making sure every site looks good. I just feel that what we do is good for our community and honors those who came before us, ”said Loshel.
Lisa likes to do the job personally.
“I like to ask myself who they were: what kind of life did they have? Were you in love? What did you do for a living? She said. “I get very emotional. I think of my own mother.”
• Sensorio in Paso Robles is hosting the Bruce Munro: Light at Sensorio exhibition from January 2, 2022. The immersive lighting experience that celebrates the holiday season includes Munro’s 15-acre Field of Light installation. More information is available at www.sensoriopaso.com. Δ
You can reach the editor Bulbul Rajagopal at [email protected]
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