Marblehead Cemetery Dept. to have first female superintendent

MARBLEHEAD – The town?s Cemetery Department will have its first woman superintendent on June 18: 18-year department office manager Catherine Kobialka.The commission – Richard Coletti, David Cashman and Rose Ann Wheeler-McCarthy – voted to offer her the job after interviewing three finalists for the post Monday and Tuesday nights.Kobialka has served with two cemetery superintendents in her career: Benjamin Woodfin, who retired 13 years ago, and William James, who is scheduled to retire June 15.Cemetery Commission Chairman Richard Coletti said the three-member elected board was impressed by the knowledge she has gained during her years with the department, and especially with her ability to take over the department crew and “keep things running” when James needed time to deal with his wife?s illness in 2010.?She proved herself,” Coletti said.The Cemetery Department maintains Waterside Cemetery and Harbor View Cemetery, located across the street from Waterside. While the Recreation and Parks Department cuts and trims grass at Old Burial Hill, Harris Street Cemetery and Green Street Cemetery, the cemetery workers perform other maintenance duties there.Kobialka said Wednesday she is looking forward to her new duties. “I?ve always been working toward it for the past 13 years,” she said. “Bill (James) had his chance first and he recommended me for the job.”In her regular surveys of area cemetery departments, which help in setting fees, she has spoken with only one other woman superintendent – and that woman serves as superintendent and clerk. One of Kobialka?s first duties in June will be hiring a new clerk.Cemetery expansion – usually a priority in a heavily developed community like Marblehead – is on her list. She plans to finish developing the areas she and James targeted during his tenure, then pursue a 5.7-acre parcel of School Department land at 159 Beacon St.

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