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Willard Psychiatric Center patients buried in Ovid to be memorialized

A black granite monument with the names of 96 former Willard Psychiatric Center patients who died and were buried in Holy Cross Catholic Cemetery will be dedicated at an ecumenical memorial celebration at 11 a.m. Friday.

The New York State Office of Mental Health, the Willard Cemetery Memorial Project and the Catholic Diocese of Rochester will be co-hosts for the celebration at Holy Cross Cemetery.

State Office of Mental Health officials said the memorial service is the product of collaboration and careful research between the agency and the Willard Cemetery Memorial Project. A variety of church records and state resources were used to confirm that the individuals were former patients at Willard and were buried in the vicinity of the greater Willard community.

In June 2016, early archival research was conducted by the Willard Cemetery Memorial Project. By December 2016, the memorial project team consulted with the Office of Mental Health to vet early results. Two months later, the Office of Mental Health verified individual names to be memorialized with a commemorative monument.

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