Meet Our Staff

Paul K. Williams has served as the President of the Cemetery since July 2012.  Prior, he served as the Executive Director of Dupont Circle Main Streets. Since 1995, he has also been the proprietor of Kelsey & Associates, a firm that has completed the history of more than 1,500 houses and buildings in Washington, DC. He is the author of 23 books on Washington, DC historical themes and historic neighborhoods, the latest focused on the history of the Wardman Park Hotel.

Crystal Palmer has served as the Director of Sales and Funerals. She started at Congressional Cemetery in 2013 as the part-time Front Office Manager and worked her way up to her current position. She was basically raised in a cemetery because her grandfather ran the National Cemetery in Richmond, Virginia. Crystal is very active; she is a notary public, a certified cremationist, runs a catering business on the side and raises her two children.

Sarah Kirspel came to Congressional Cemetery as the Director of Programs and Special Events in November 2019. A Delaware native, her background is in historical interpretation for state parks, including cemeteries. Sarah worked her way up from AmeriCorps Historical Educator, to Historical Interpreter to Interpretive Programs Coordinator to Park Superintendent for Delaware State Parks. She attended York College of Pennsylvania for her Bachelor of Arts degree in History with a minor in Political Science and received her Master of Arts degree in Archives, Museum and Historical Editing Studies (Public History) from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA. Sarah lives in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria with the loves of her life – her husband, Travis and their two Olde English Bulldogges, Della and Maizie.

In 2012, fresh out of Savannah College of Art and Design Historic Preservation graduate program, Margaret Canilang started her journey at Congressional Cemetery, but her love for cemeteries was already well-developed.  She was fascinated with the conservation science in her classes, particularly the properties and characteristics of stone.  Even more specifically, slate.  And what better place to observe stone than in a cemetery?  She was so enthralled, she wrote her Master’s thesis, “The Cemetery as a Cultural Institution: Reforming Preservation Initiatives in Garden Cemeteries through Management, Conservation, Outreach, and Protection.  A very long paper recommending the implementation of museum practices to care for cemeteries.  When she first started at the cemetery, she managed tasks associated with an active cemetery – funerals, site sales – and helped with conservation any chance she was able.  When the Director of Conservation position opened in 2019, she jumped at the opportunity to conserve the site’s memorials.

Dayle Dooley’s initial introduction to HCC was in the early 1980s while doing genealogical research on her family. The staff member with the longest tenure, Dayle has been a docent since 2007 and since retirement in 2009 has been Congressional Cemetery’s part-time Archivist. Family members buried here include great-great grandparents starting in 1872 as well as her husband’s family beginning in 1858.

Kimberly Sullivan is our  Front Office Manager. She is a Washington, DC native, raised one block from our Congressional Cemetery. Kim is a mom of two very active young children. Her hobbies include reading, writing, and traveling. She is currently in the midst of receiving her Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications at Trinity University College. Her experience in office management is crucial to our team.

Andrea McCants has been in charge of the Finances of Congressional Cemetery since July 2012, coming in once a week to handle the books. She enjoys running, the occasional glass of wine and spending time with her new granddaughter. Andrea and her husband live in Baltimore, MD.

Known by everyone as Mr. King, he has been a part of the Cemetery longer than almost anyone else on staff. Mr. Randolph King started taking care of the landscaping around the Gatehouse as the Groundskeeper one day a week in 2009. His expertise made him indispensable and quickly led him to expand to two and three days a week. Living only 5 blocks from the Cemetery since 1957, he rides his bike to work each day. The Army Corps of Engineers provided training for him from 1961-1963 both at Fort Belvoir and Fort Jackson and he is a true handyman, able to work in a variety of trades. His true love is gardening which extends to all plants, and he can name any of the trees found in the Cemetery.   Mr. King was born on All Souls Day – November 1, 1937 – so the Cemetery is a fitting place for him and he considers it to be “like family.”

David Randolph has been a Groundskeeper at Congressional since June 2019. Born in King and Queen County, Mechanicsville, VA, he has been in DC for most of his life. Before coming to the Cemetery, David worked as a Miss Utility Locator for 8 years and was a marble refinisher before that. He always enjoys work that involves a trade. When needed, David will work with local funeral homes to pick up and deliver remains to and from the crematorium on an ad hoc basis. He enjoys eating any kind of wild game, so far, he has enjoyed possum soup, turtle, frog legs, squirrel, rabbit, duck, and conch. His favorite TV show is the Walking Dead.