A family funeral in 2004, combined with retirement from teaching at Central High School, led Chip Brock to start volunteering at the city's oldest operating cemetery — Mount Mora.

"One thing just led to another," Mr. Brock said. "I just felt I live in St. Joseph and am obligated to give something back."

Mount Mora is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

It seemed that perpetual care wasn't working too well and the hillsides were looking overrun with grass and weeds, Mr. Brock said.

So the teacher adopted a whole section of the cemetery and started cutting it on a regular basis.

"I wanted to make it look like my own yard," Mr. Brock said.

And it kept growing.

"This cemetery is a part of who we are and there's an awful lot of history about how we became who we are on these tombstones," Mr. Brock said.

Mr. Brock works with other volunteers, like Dr. Wally McDonald, pruning trees and cleaning up family plots.

"I'm hoping to encourage others to adopt areas of the cemetery so that it's presentable all year long and not just on special days, Mr. Brock said.

Mr. Brock also has spent a number of years singing with the St. Joseph Community Chorus and his church choir. And he still coaches golf at Central.