Dennis Carr is a founding member, past president and current trustee of the Friends of Mount Hope Cemetery. He is the Senior Tour Guide at Mount Hope, with 2020 marking his 42nd year leading tours of Mount Hope Cemetery. He is currently vice president of the Friends of Mount Hope. Dennis is also on staff at the Edward G. Miner Library at the University of Rochester Medical Center, assisting students, researchers, clinical staff and faculty. He is a life-long scholar of the American cemetery.
Deb Coffey is a historian, cemetery enthusiast, museum advocate, experienced docent, educator, mentor, and aspiring Gettysburg (PA) Licensed Battlefield Guide. She has a passion for public speaking and loves teaching others. Favorite topics include women's history, Susan B. Anthony & suffrage, 19th C funerary art & symbolism, and Civil War/military history. Deb's professional work includes: Operations & Management; former Operations/Facilities Director & Volunteer Coordinator at the National Susan B. Anthony Museum & House, currently employed in Public Safety, Emergency Management, & Logistics.
Deb joined the Friends of Mount Hope as a tour guide/docent, Special Tour & Volunteer Coordinator in September 2016. Elected to the Board of Trustees in Spring 2017, she served Special Tour Coordinator 2017-2018, and Volunteer Coordinator 2017-present.
Currently serving as president of the Friends of Mount Hope, Patricia Corcoran has been a FOMH volunteer and trustee for years, serving as a tour guide, speaker, and chair of many committees.
Patricia Corcoran has been in love with Mount Hope Cemetery and its history since she moved to Linden Street in 1975. She was an ESOL teacher for 30 years in the Rochester City School District and remains committed to urban education. When not involved at Mount Hope Cemetery, Pat continues her love of adventure as matriarch of a large family, as a new resident of St. John’s Meadows, and as a volunteer at Saintsplace resettling refugees.
Robbie Dreeson chairs the Cradle Grave Gardening Program. The program began in 2019 and now in its fourth year she coordinates over 200 gardens and 100 volunteers. During the summer of 2020 she discovered an additional 41 graves resulting in 71 additional gardens. Cradle gardens has become one of the most popular volunteer efforts at Mt. Hope. She is also a member of the FOMH Restoration Committee and helps coordinate the cleaning of monuments in several sections of the cemetery. As a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution she is keening interested in historic preservation and history. Mt. Hope has over thirty Revolutionary Soldiers buried here and she keeps the patriot graves marked with American Flags every May. Robbie joined the FOMH several years ago and since retiring in 2017 she has been an active member of the Friends.
Barbara Figura is the Tour Reception Coordinator for the Friends of Mount Hope, a role she has held since January of 2021. She joined the Friends as a reception volunteer in 2019 and was elected to the Board in the Fall of 2021. A University of Rochester graduate and a 40+ year resident of the Rochester area, Barbara did not set foot in the Mount Hope Cemetery until 2009. She and her husband Mark have been FOMH members for a number of years and became gardeners for 2 cradle graves in 2021.
Barbara worked at the URMC and other local businesses and is trained as a Family Mediator. She and her husband raised their family in Rochester and Webster and owned an IT business based in Fairport until 2018.
Tony enjoys traveling, especially to Central America doing volunteer work with different organizations. He also enjoys playing and watching a variety of sports and loves the Buffalo Bills.
Chris Grooms joined the Friends of Mount Hope after relocating to Rochester in the summer of 2017. In the summer of 2018 he became a volunteer for the Friends, mostly as a tour guide. He joined the board in 2019. Chris is a Nationally Certified Sign Language Interpreter who loves history and enjoys traveling, reading, and meandering walks in historic cemeteries.
Monica Gurell has been a member of the Board of Trustees since 2020. She is a member of the Jewish and Nominating Committees. Monica has been a special education teacher in the Rochester City School District since 2000. She displays a commitment to serving under-privileged youth in our community and works daily to instill the desire for success in her students.
Monica has served on many non-profit boards in the Rochester area. These include the Junior League of Rochester, Temple B'rith Kodesh, Temple B'rith Kodesh Women of Reform Judaism, the Mary M Gooley Hemophilia Center, and the Hemophilia Foundation of Upstate New York. In addition to being on the Boards of these organizations she has chaired numerous committees and events for them.
Tom Jones, a.k.a. RevDrTom/rdT, is neither a reverend nor a doctor, but prays with and administers aid to trees whenever there is a need. ...Say what? But seriously folks, Tom has loved the Cemetery ever since he first volunteered for United Way's Day of Caring with a group from Bausch & Lomb, Inc. back in 1995.
Initially drawn to the Cemetery by the beautiful trees, Tom really appreciates the cultural significance of Mount Hope. When you combine the beauty of MHC's landscape with its monuments, stone sculptures, and history, there's no better combination. (Much better than any "plain old" arboretum.)
Along with other members of the Friends, Tom is helping to actively steward this resource. He is involved with putting up the tree tags and is also a new member of the Restoration Committee. He was inspired to suggest a cradle grave gardening program here in Mount Hope Cemetery after seeing similar efforts in Laurel Hill Cemetery and The Woodlands in Philadelphia (two early garden cemeteries).
And one more thing -- don't get worried if you think that he's looking at you all googly-eyed and seems to be falling in love with you. There's probably just a nice tree behind you that's distracting him. Ha!
Henry McCartney is FOMH's treasurer. He retired in 2012 after a long career in historic preservation. He was executive director of the Landmark Society of Western New York from 1984 through 2005. He also served as executive director of preservation organizations in Buffalo and in Jacksonville, Florida. Henry also worked for the National Trust for Historic Preservation as director of the Trust's neighborhood conservation program (1978-83).
Valerie has been a board member since 2010, and has chaired the Restoration Committee since 2018. She and her team of dedicated volunteers have cleaned hundreds of monuments over the past several years.
Valerie is the third generation owner and designer at Pike Stained Glass Studios, and has restored several windows in the cemetery.
Chris Petote became a volunteer with the FOMH in 2013 as a Gatehouse Receptionist. In 2019, she was asked to join the Board of Trustees as Secretary. She also serves as the Special Tours Coordinator, organizing tours for schools and large groups and is also co-chair of the Second Saturday Landscape Volunteer Program. Chris discovered later in life her love of history, especially Rochester history. After a few hikes in Mount Hope Cemetery, she fell madly in love with it. Chris works part-time in the city in admin support. When not working on various projects at Mount Hope, she loves gardening and hiking, especially in our beautiful state parks, county parks, and the ADKs when possible, while taking tons of pictures. Outside of the Rochester area, she loves exploring Washington DC, Gettysburg, and South Carolina.
Marjorie B. Searl
Marjorie B. Searl has been a trustee of the Friends of Mount Hope since 2021. In that capacity, she also serves as co-chair of the Holocaust Memorial committee, for which she fund raises, does research, and speaks at community programs. She is also on the Epitaph committee.
She retired as chief curator and curator of American art at the Memorial Art Gallery, where she worked for over 25 years. At MAG, in addition to responsibilities for the art collection, she wrote and edited publications including Seeing America: Painting and Sculpture from the Collection of the Memorial Art Gallery.
She resides in Brighton with her husband, Scott Searl, where they raised three children. She has lectured widely on the Sibley and Watson families of Rochester, including at a FOMH annual meeting. She serves on the board of the Highland Park Conservancy, Historic Brighton, and the Friends of the University of Rochester Libraries. Currently, she is helping to develop and promote the Rochester Alliance of Olmsted Parks.
Patricia Sorce is a tour guide and serves on the communication committee for the Friends of Mount Hope. She has been a volunteer since 2018 and was elected to the board in 2019. She retired from RIT in 2014 where she served as a faculty member, administrator, and research director. Her other interests include golf and cycling.
Yarelis M. Tinoco
Yarelis M. Tinoco is a student at the State University of New York at Brockport studying sociology, history, and museum studies. She is acting as our archivist- working on managing, preserving, and digitizing our files. She is a former intern and current volunteer with the Rochester Medical Museum and Archives as well as the former Editor in Chief of SUNY Cortland’s student-run newspaper. Her past experiences have given her a familiarity with archives and organization. Yarelis looks forward to bringing her enthusiasm and a fresh perspective to the Friends of Mount Hope.
Nancy Uffindell serves as a Vice President, tour guide and genealogist, answering the many genealogy requests received by the Friends of Mount Hope Cemetery. She joined the board in 2001, and has also held the positions of Secretary, Treasurer, and public relations chair. Nancy is our liaison to the National Parks Service National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom and the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor. As a tour guide for over 20 years, Nancy designed and leads our Erie Canal Connections tours and has added the information from those tours to our Speaker's Bureau as a portable presentation.