Opinion

EDITORIAL | Freeland could use a cemetery

Friends of the Langley Woodmen Cemetery held a cleanup day March 6, which is a reminder that all of us should express gratitude to those who keep our cemeteries neat, clean and presentable.

Langley Cemetery was falling into disarray a number of years ago when Cary Peterson, local gardener, took it upon herself to do something about it. Years later, we have the Friends group and a cemetery of which all Langleyites can be proud.

There was another reminder this year that cemetery work goes hand-in-hand with historical research. Peterson’s curiosity combined with raking and pruning revealed the headstone of Helen B. Coe, 1858 to 1940, who was Langley’s first female mayor.

South Whidbey’s two other cemeteries are also well maintained, aways looking their best around Memorial Day. St. Peter’s Lutheran Cemetery in Clinton is historically pleasing, located just outside the church door. Churchyards long served as cemetery sites, but this is the only one on Whidbey.

Up the highway a few miles is Bayview Cemetery, home to central South Whidbey pioneers, their families and many a summer home owner and retiree who preferred to be buried on the island. It’s separated on two sides of Bayview Road. The Bayview Cemetery Association keeps this burial site looking neat and clean.

Unfortunately, we have a cemetery gap that local residents might consider filling some day. Freeland has been growing for years but to date it has no cemetery of its own. The closest we can find on the Internet is something called Mutiny Bay Cemetery which, according to a website called hometownchronicles.com, is located in the 5600 block of Mutiny Bay Road. There are no grave markers, so it hardly qualifies as a community cemetery.

It may be a good research project for some organization to find out who’s buried at the Mutiny Bay cemetery and supply markers, and then find someplace else for a new Freeland cemetery, which no doubt would be an appealing final resting place for all those living in the Freeland and Greenbank areas.

Further north, Coupeville is well served by Sunnyside Cemetery with its historic grave markers and sweeping view of Ebey’s Prairie. Oak Harbor has a fine cemetery in Maple Leaf, and a second called Pioneer Cemetery, which apparently is mostly for people of Irish ancestry.

Except for Freeland, Whidbey Island is well served by its cemeteries and the people who maintain them.

 

Community Events, April 2014

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