Oakland Cemetery relies on the incredible energy, dedication, and generosity of over two hundred volunteers. Working in the gardens, giving tours, staffing the Visitor Center, or giving countless hours at special and private events, Oakland volunteers never fail to amaze with their passion and commitment. We’ve asked some of Oakland’s volunteers to share their stories of how they became involved as Oakland volunteers and their experiences here.
Meet Bill Terry
Tell us a little about yourself:
I am a native of Atlanta, having been born at the old Piedmont Hospital which was located on Capitol Avenue in downtown. Except for serving four years in the U.S. Navy, I have lived in the Atlanta area (mainly Decatur) all my life. My wife Diane and I have been married for 42 years, and my career was working primarily as an industry-certified public accountant in accounting and tax.
How did you get involved in volunteering with Oakland?
Diane started volunteering at Oakland after she retired, and I worked with her when she volunteered for special events on the weekends. After I retired I started working in the Visitors Center then later trained as a tour guide. At first I started volunteering just to occupy time because of the boredom of retirement. After I started volunteering in the Visitors Center, however, I developed a sincere passion for the cemetery and the other volunteers, the Historic Oakland Foundation staff, and of course our visitors from not only the 50 states but all around the world.
What do you like most about volunteering at Oakland?
It is so fun and rewarding. I learn something new every time I volunteer. The people are incredible: all the volunteers, the HOF staff, and of course, our visitors. The Foundation staff and the volunteers are my extended family.
What is your favorite Oakland experience or memory?
During a tour I was telling an eighth grade class about the Mexican tradition of Three Deaths: the first when your heart stops beating, the second when you are buried, and the third when the last time someone speaks your name. I was asked if my wife and I ever plan to be a resident here at Oakland. I responded yes and several of the class came up to me after the tour and told me never to worry about me or my wife dying the third time or that our name would cease to be spoken. They said they would come back to Oakland and call our names often!