As a kid, Columbus native Tommie Riedmiller never had aspirations to become the City’s cemetery supervisor. But things change.
“I definitely didn’t see myself in that job. Nobody says, ‘I want to be a gravedigger growing up,’” Riedmiller said, with a laugh. “But after meeting Steve (Wortman) and knowing he trusted me to fill his shoes, it inspired me to do a good job.”
Riedmiller was recently promoted to take over as the City of Columbus’ cemetery supervisor for Wortman, who retired after more than a decade in the role and multiple decades of employment with the City.
Riedmiller brings with him plenty of experience. He started off about nine years ago doing some seasonal work at Quail Run Golf Course before quickly joining the Parks and Recreation Department. There, he also did some work for the cemetery and learned the ropes from Wortman.
“I’m feeling pretty good,” Riedmiller said. “I got a lot of training from Steve before he retired for about a year-and-a-half. I’ve realized how important it is to take care of the grounds and make sure they’re nice for people … I couldn’t have found a better teacher.”
In his role, Riedmiller oversees Columbus and Roselawn cemeteries. The work includes managing a small number of part-time employees on groundskeeping, using heavy equipment to dig and open graves, as well as selling cemetery plots.
City Public Property Director Doug Moore said Riedmiller was ultimately the ideal person to take on the job.
“He has the personality for this kind of work,” Moore said. “It requires dealing with people in their most difficult time.”
Riedmiller started in his new job March 27th and has wasted no time. He already sold his first cemetery plot and said he’s enjoying connecting with people. That’s what people can anticipate from him.
“They can expect me to be a reliable, friendly face to take care of anything anyone needs. It’s not glamorous, but I’m happy to do it,” he said. “It’s a pretty important responsibility. It’s the final thing you do for somebody, so I take a lot of pride in that and I want to treat it with respect.”