Lake Elmo cemetery opens after years-long legal fight

Halcyon Cemetery in Lake Elmo is the definition of a true family affair. 

For starters, the ceremony space used to be Lee Rossow's parents' actual home. The land the house was built on was already zoned for a cemetery, so Lee had the idea to open one for the community after his parents and his wife dies nearly a decade ago. 

"I became disenchanted with the services and the availability, and the way things were handled when somebody died and I thought, there's probably a better way of handling it," said Rossow. 

But the process of starting a cemetery in Minnesota isn't simple, and Lee fought the City of Lake Elmo to open - a fight he took all the way to the Minnesota Supreme Court. 

He ended up winning after the Minnesota Supreme Court refused to hear the case, and the Rossow family was finally able to open their doors last month. Lee's parents, Marge and Roy, now rest peacefully at the entrance in an ornate mausoleum. 

Another member of the family- Lee's niece, Rochelle Jacobs, serves as the manager of the cemetery, the same place where she used to spend Christmas with her grandparents. 

"To have this be my place that I come to work every day now and I can share it with the community... it's a wonderful thing," said Jacobs. "This isn't just a business. This is really a place where we are honoring our family and theirs at the same time."

The cemetery is non-denominational and a non-profit. They not only serve their customers, but also provide a place for the forgotten. 

The cemetery has a dedicated space that serves as the final resting place for 97 individuals from across the state who died with nothing and no one to bury them, making their funeral home a true home for all. 

"They were just sitting there. Nobody was picking them up... we wanted to honor them... we wanted them to come here," said Jacobs.