Gravestone Carver

By  | 

Mark Hansen is a fifth-generation gravestone carver. He is president of W.J. Trump Memorials Incorporated in Lincoln.

The business was started by his great-great-grandfather who came to Fairbury in 1886 from Scranton, Pennsylvania.

Hansen's father ran the business from 1962 until 1990, when he sold it to Hansen and his brother.

Years of moving stones and digging holes have taken a toll on his 48-year-old back.

His eyes are not as good as they used to be, so he lets his younger assistant do most of the carving now.

Hansen meets with the families, learns what their loved ones were like in life, and then sketches ideas for their approval. Most of his designs are packed with symbolism.

He says, quote, "I could just go on and on with them, getting them to tell their stories to me. You see some pretty sad things sometimes."