Meet Our Staff

Jaclyn “Jackie” Spainhour serves as the President of the Cemetery.  She is a writer, researcher, nonprofit professional, and special needs mom. She is an alumnus of Old Dominion University and sits on the Board of Directors for the Victorian Society in America. Her first book, Gilded Age Norfolk, Virginia: Tidewater Wealth, Industry, and Propriety was published in 2015 by the History Press. She serves as the chair of the VSA Book Awards Committee and the copy editor for the VSA’s peer-reviewed journal Nineteenth Century. A life-long lover of historic places, she spent over a decade on staff and as the Director of the Hunter House Victorian Museum in Norfolk, Virginia. Her second book, Museums and Millennials: Engaging the Coveted Patron Generation, was published in October 2019 through the American Association of State and Local History. She has given numerous presentations on the local and national level and her third book, A History Lover’s Guide to Norfolk, was published in 2021. In her spare time, she uses her voice as an advocate for the creation of a more inclusive world for people living with autism and other disabilities in honor of her son Declan. Away from the cemetery, you can find her digging her nose into the worn-out pages of old books, sipping a latte at a corner café, or brewing a fresh pot of tea to pour into her extensive teacup collection. She never misses a good British drama and is a huge fan of the show Supernatural. She would love to chat with you about your wishes for the cemetery- especially if you would like to become a future resident!

Sarah Kirspel came to Congressional Cemetery as the Director of Programs and Special Events in November 2019 and has become the Vice President. 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.

Anthony “AJ” Orlikoff, Director of Public Engagement, is a dedicated and passionate historian, educator, and writer. After graduating with a Bachelor’s and Master’s in History from Old Dominion University, A.J. worked at Hampton Roads Naval Museum as an Educator and at the National Museum of the United States Army as an Education Specialist- Lead before joining the staff at Historic Congressional Cemetery. He is the author of “The Navy’s City: Norfolk’s Military History” in A History Lover’s Guide to Norfolk and is a contributor to Washington History Magazine. He is extremely passionate and enthusiastic about all things history and is always eager to share the amazing stories of the past.  He specializes in American military history, with a particular focus on the American Civil War and World War II. He enjoys reading, sports, cups of black coffee, and is an avid Disc Golf player. He lives in Centreville, Virginia with his wife Raven and his cat Reina.

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.

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.

Antonio Coghill is our Front Office Manager.

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.

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.

Quentin Datcher is our Gatechecker.