Arts & Entertainment

Security at Westfield's Fairview Cemetery Tighter with Celebrity Burials, Visitors Say

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Fairview Cemetery's 105 acre grounds comprise a “beautiful picturesque setting maintained through a substantial endowment fund” according to its website. Credits: Jackie Lieberman
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WESTFIELD, NJ — Bobbi Kristina Brown’s burial in Westfield is rumored to be planned for Monday, Aug. 3, after a funeral service in Georgia on Friday. Fairview Cemetery became a media focal point in 2012 when her mother, Whitney Houston, was buried there. Now, with word that Brown will be laid to rest there, too, the national media has returned.

When called for comment, a representative of Fairview who did not give her name said that the event will not impact the ability of others to visit the graves of loved ones.

“We respect the privacy of all of our families,” she said.

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News vans have already been spotted outside of the private cemetery on Broad Street, some hoisting up cameras to give viewers a look inside. Many speculate that the media presence alone will be enough to tie up traffic when Brown is laid to rest.

But what happens on the day that a celebrity is buried is only part of the story. People whose loved-ones are buried at Fairview say that their visits to the cemetery have already been changed by its celebrity status.

Ahrre Maros, whose father is buried not far from Whitney Houston, said a security guard who he believes is hired by the Houston family now keeps him in sight throughout his visits to Fairview.

“They’ve always been very nice, but they are there to keep you away from Whitney’s grave,” said Maros. “It’s a little odd.”

Gone are the days of strolling the cemetery while he’s there. (Fairview’s website notes that its 105 acre grounds comprise a “beautiful picturesque setting maintained through a substantial endowment fund.”)

“Before Whitney was there, I would go walk around a little bit,” Marros said. “Now I’m not allowed to.”

Others said that security now stops them at the gate to ask them which grave they are visiting before they are allowed in.

Maros said he understood the family’s wish for privacy and security, though he’d like to be able to view Houston’s grave while he’s there.

“There’s just an ongoing concern for those of us that are in 50 feet of her,” Marros said. “I think the Houston family needs to find a way to make that security detail a little kinder to those who want to visit their loved ones.”

Barbara Vincentsen, who serves on the board of the Fairview Cemetery Committee, said that, while visiting has always been limited to daylight hours, 24/7 surveillance was added after Houston’s burial.

“They do as much as possible to make a difficult time as easy as possible,” she added.

 

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