The beginning of Idlewilde Fraternal Cemetery Association, located at the corner of Brookside Drive and Tucker Road was officially organized March 26, 1895. We have burials that occurred prior to its organization that date back to 1877. This small sacred area of land was a community burial place on the outskirts of Hood River prior to the cemetery’s beginning.
In the beginning, three lodges represented Idlewilde Cemetery Association. They were Hood River Masonic Lodge #105 A.F. & A.M., Idlewilde Lodge I.O.O.F. Odd Fellows and Woodman of the World Lodge #68 A.O.U.W. The Odd Fellows and Woodman Lodges relinquished their rights and the Masonic Lodge became sole proprietor of Idlewilde Cemetery and the Lodge supplies four board members to oversee the everyday happening and operations of Idlewilde Cemetery.
We started off as five acres and over the years have grown to over 18 acres with five acres still in orchard production to financially help with the ongoing operation expenses of the cemetery. We have removed the Bosc pears, which have up-and-down market prices and now grow only Bartlett pears, which have a steady market price.
As of today, we have over 8,000 body burials at Idlewilde and over 2,000 ash placements. Our mausoleum and niches are at 60% capacity. At Idlewilde, we still hand dig the graves. It helps when you have straight sand for soil. If our digger, Agustin Lara finds a rock, we are charged extra. (No rocks.) Agustin is a 25-year employee with Idlewilde and can still dig a grave in a little over an hour’s time. We operate here at Idlewilde with only the one part-time employee, three hours a day, and myself.
We are 100% irrigated, with a pressurized system furnished by the Irrigation District. We irrigate 24/7 when the irrigation season stars and we pump over 100 gallons a minute. Our two outstanding programs each year are Memorial Day and then in September we have Cemetery Tales, which is a large fundraiser for the local Historical Museum Society’s educational programs. Cemetery Tales has become so popular that the tickets have to be purchased early, and then sometimes they’re already sold out.
We have over 2,700 vacant graves in the new portion of the cemetery and over 1,000 graves in the old section at this time. The orchard portion of the cemetery was plotted back in 1973, which will be to our advantage when the time comes to remove the orchard and sell graves. We enjoy the beauty of the Hood River Valley on a daily basis. When you’re at our facility, look south and you can see Mt. Hood before you look north and see Mt. Adams in the state of Washington. Come to Hood River and visit us; enjoy our views, our wine, our fruits, our clean, fresh air, lots of summer and fall activities, and oh, did I mention we border Indian Creek Golf Course?
–Bob Huskey, Sexton/Manager, Idlewilde Cemetery
980 Tucker Road, Hood River, Oregon
Posted December 17, 2016
If you’re ever in the St. Helens, Oregon neighborhood, take a little jaunt up Pittsburg Rd. You’ll find a small green square tucked into the side of the road, across the street from Yankton Community Fellowship church, formerly Yankton Baptist Church. I got the tip from the owner of the bowling alley on Highway 30. She was a firecracker delight to talk to, and if I had time, I would have stayed and bowled a couple games. But I had a mission.
Yankton Cemetery, also known as Old Yankton Cemetery or Yankton Hillcrest Cemetery, wasn’t too far off Highway 30. There’s not much parking right at the cemetery, so if you visit, you could probably park across the street. (Note the old church in the photos – it was demolished in August 2016.) The first thing you’ll notice is a very nice carved wooden sign, noting the cemetery was established in 1888 (the church in 1893). It seems the latest helpers were an Eagle Scout troop and Benjamin Herendeen. Unfortunately, no other information is available about their efforts. The earliest-born resident was born in 1830.
Of note were several World War Veteran medallions. They reminded me of the Confederate markers found in the South Carolina cemeteries we featured in the last newsletter. Other memorials reflected the logging industry of the area by using branches to create the lettering on the headstones. The area is very quiet and peaceful, nestled alongside a rural road with the sounds of nature as the soundtrack. I hope you enjoy the photos and this video:
‘O ye, all ye that walk in Willow-wood,
That walk with hollow faces burning white;
What fathom-depth of soul-struck widowhood,
What long, what longer hours, one lifelong night,
Ere ye again, who so in vain have wooed
Your last hope lost, who so in vain invite
Your lips to that their unforgotten food,
Ere ye, ere ye again shall see the light!’
– Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828-1882)
In May 2013 the CAO was a part of a joint conference with the Oregon Funeral Directors Association. During the conference board members Kim Morley, Bob Huskey and Rachel Fox went on a “short 3 mile walk” from the Eugene Hilton to Eugene Masonic Cemetery. Ok we were a bit off in the miles, it was a hot, sunny day complete with blistered feet but we had a great time. Please enjoy some of the photographs: