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EXCLUSIVE: Cave Hill Cemetery taking delicate care of Ali gravesite mementos

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) – Saturday, June 10 marks the one-year remembrance of Muhammad Ali's funeral, the day that captivated the world.

Ali is buried at Cave Hill Cemetery in the Highlands and officials shared some of the gifts left behind by visitors over the past year for the champ.

Danny Key, Head Gardener at Cave Hill Cemetery recalls, “So much stuff, I've forgotten since it's been a year later. I remember a train that someone brought it and it was stuffed with all kinds of stuff, that was kind of different, and medals, and different stuff like that and overall, the rocking chair.”

When your impact is as massive as the Great Muhammad Ali, extra space is needed. Cave Hill Cemetery has seen tens of thousands of visitors to Muhammad Ali's grave over the past year.

Items such as paintings, boxing gloves, international flags and other unique things have graced his headstone and are now safe in the cemetery's administration building.

Gwen Mooney, president and CEO of Cave Hill Cemetery tells us, “Everyone that comes in to visit Muhammad Ali's grave or even at the funeral service when we talked with people, everybody has a story.”

Key adds, “When I saw it I was like wow...and it had a cardboard box on it with a bunch of writing.” He’s describing the empty rocking chair left at Ali's grave. We're told it signifies that there was a great loss – that a life is no longer with us.

Key used to groom legendary racehorse Secretariat in the 1980’s and now he's the first set of hands to trim and tidy up the Champ's resting place.

The mementos are all so special, from handwritten notes to elephants from Ali's infamous Rumble in the Jungle, autographed pictures, and they are just some of the belongings that only the owner can explain.

There's truly no limit to someone's sentiment, especially when a global humanitarian is laid to rest.

What you don't see are the thousands of flowers that are left at Muhammad Ali's gravesite, Cave Hill tells WHAS11 News the cut flowers are perishable but any plotted plants that are brought to Ali's gravesite are relocated to the greenhouse on site where those flowers are maintained.

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