Cemetery cleanup a family thing for couple

Burnt Bridge Creek residents tidy grave sites of kin on Memorial Day

By Dave Kern, Columbian assistant metro editor


photoSharron Wannmaker tends to the gravestone of her dad, Gene Lusby, at Park Hill Cemetery on Sunday. There are more than 20,000 headstones at the McLoughlin Heights cemetery.

(/The Columbian)

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Park Hill Cemetery is the resting place of Civil War veteran Lewis Sutton, who died July 23, 1914, at the age of 75.

At 2 p.m. Sunday, Warren and Sharron Wannamaker were tending to the graves of her dad and grandparents. They already had beautified eight other grave sites of family members at Park Hill Cemetery in McLoughlin Heights.

Sharron said her mother had a tradition of tending to family graves on Memorial Day.

"I took over because I'm the oldest child," she said. "It is emotional. It was very hard losing them," she said of her parents.

"My dad was a merchant marine," Sharron said. "We all lived in the Walnut Grove area. Daddy graduated from Vancouver High School."

Gene Howard Lusby was born Sept. 2, 1927, and died June 29, 2008. "He was my best friend. He had a tough life but he ended with a good life. At one time, he was the owner of Tomm's Tavern."

Her mother, Claire Hollingsworth, is remembered at the crematorium wall at Park Hill.

Sharron and Warren of the

Burnt Bridge Creek neighborhood were working with a half-moon edger, a garden trowel and clippers.

Flowers were ready, including Japanese iris and daylilies from the Wannamaker yard.

Nearby, dozens of people were remembering loved ones in the cemetery with its 35 acres of lawn.

Warren said after the 11 grave sites at Park Hill were completed that the couple would go to Evergreen Memorial Gardens Cemetery, where his parents are buried.

"I remember the times that we used to do things as a family," Warren said. He loves remembering tales his father, Frank, would tell.

"He used to work for DuBois Lumber," which was near the Port of Vancouver, Warren said.

Park Hill probably will be busy today with people remembering loved ones. The cemetery has more than 20,000 headstones, some dating back as far as 1815.