Staff Spotlight: Marianne Randjelovic

Marianne Randjelovic explaining the importance of the cemetery.

In 2023, we highlighted some of our great volunteers. For just a bit of 2024, we thought we’d give shout outs to our staff of both the Foundation and the Cemetery, and we couldn’t think of anyone better to start with than our very own Vice President of Advancement, Marianne Randjelovic.

Having been with the Foundation for 24 years (her anniversary is May 1), we sat down with Marianne and asked her about what she does at the Foundation, how she likes working in a cemetery, and her favorite things. Being born in Germany and raised in North Judson, IN, saying you work for a cemetery can get some odd looks.

Here’s what she had to say:

Alice Gochenour (L) and Marianne Randjelovic (R) take a moment to enjoy the cemetery.

“Crown Hill is a sacred space with a dual mission (since 1863) to serve the community as an active cemetery and as a cultural landscape. In my role as Vice President of Advancement at the Crown Hill Foundation, I appreciate the opportunity to learn about the deeply personal connections individuals and families have with the cemetery. I also enjoy facilitating a donor’s desire to support the Foundation’s mission to preserve and celebrate their family heritage at Crown Hill with a designated contribution.

My favorite gift was an annual donation we received for a number of years of three single dollar bills sent in an envelope with no return address or note inside. My second favorite donation was a $4 million planned gift that helped us endow the Foundation’s mission.

Marianne’s favorite monument, the Duden Family Stone, Section 51, Lot 407.

Crown Hill is a tremendous community resource, serving as a neighborhood park, a unique classroom, and an outdoor museum graced with more than 11,000 inventoried trees. The Outdoor Learning Lab in the Southwoods near the 34th Street entrance with the pollinator garden and nature trail will soon be home to a native mesic prairie habitat — in the middle of an urban greenspace.

My favorite spot at Crown Hill is Section 93 Lot 29 where my father lies at rest on a gently rolling hillside with a lovely view of the Gothic Chapel and National Cemetery. Old towering and young flowering trees that offer an awesome display of shapes and colors changing with the seasons reverently surround him.

But, my favorite sculpture is the Duden Monument, a marble figure of a woman with shoulder-length hair in a long gown kneeling before a rough hewn monument holding a small bouquet of roses. Upon first sighting, she looks alive.

My favorite historic structure located on English Circle is the Caleb Blood Smith mausoleum built in 1864. Smith, who served in President Lincoln’s cabinet, is surrounded by the gravesites of Indianapolis’ founders, settlers and community builders. A visit to beautiful English Circle always reminds me that to know Crown Hill is to know our city, our state and our nation.

To relax, I enjoy watching Masterpiece Theater, listening to Bob Dylan, and Gregorian Chants. I love traveling in the deserts of the Southwest and to the water’s edge anywhere.”