Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Our visit to Florence May Palmer's grave in Humboldt SK.

To date, this is the crowning achievement of all my genealogy research!
This past June I began to consider, "What if I asked family members to contribute to purchasing a grave marker for my great grandmother?" This is Florence May (Bellamy) PALMER, who is buried in Humboldt Public Cemetery in Saskatchewan. I had asked Robert if he would drive to SK on our upcoming trip in July to Calgary, AB. Florence is my great grandmother; my Dad's grandmother.
I'd joined a FaceBook SK group which was very helpful, and Gord Neish who works at the Naicam Museum had posted a price list and a contact for Forever Memorials for those of us who wished to have our loved ones remembered in this way.

Florence had died 85 years ago, on June 20, 1931.
I felt it would be fitting, provided others helped pay the cost.
I'm not sure why Florence's children didn't rally together and do this years ago; it would have been much cheaper. I know to begin with they had a rough life, but in later years some of them were well off. I guess she was out of sight and so out of mind, although I know that my great Uncle Syd Palmer and his wife Joan visited the cemetery in the 1980's.

Here are a list of the donators: 

My parents, Jack & Susie Williams
My uncle Harry & aunt Lil Williams
Denise Surowski (Harry & Lil's daughter)
My uncle Bob & aunt Marilyn Williams
Heidi Wallace (Bob & Marilyn's daughter)
Jacqueline Vesterinen (great uncle Syd Palmer's daughter)
My aunt Audrey & Fred Town (John & Alma May Williams daughter)
Robert & Loretta Houben (Florence Palmer's great granddaughter)

It's thrilling what a group of people can accomplish!
Thanks to Jennifer Flasko of Forever Memorials, I arranged everything by email!
First I had to find out if Florence's grave could be found, so I contacted the city of Humboldt to see who was in charge of the cemetery. It turns out the city is. They sent me a form by email for me to sign, so that Jennifer would be able to install the marker. I sent it back by email after signing it and scanning the form. Next everyone very quickly sent me paper cheques, which Robert scanned into his cell phone and deposited to our account. I had already mailed the amount owing to Jennifer, as I was very anxious to have the marker installed before I reached Humboldt at the beginning of August!
I trusted everyone to send in their cheques and they promptly did so. 

Just before I left on our trip to Calgary AB on July 22, I emailed Jennifer one last time.
Unfortunately, Saskatchewan had so much rain this summer, she hadn't been able to install the marker because of 7" of rain! But she promised she would have it done in time, and she did.
On August 1 we traveled from Calgary to Humboldt. That's one long drive!
After checking into our hotel, we hurried to the cemetery before supper.
I was so anxious to see it!
(In the photo above, I'm talking with my Dad, Jack Williams, and describing his grandmother's grave to him.)

Alas. I didn't even know where it was.
My heart fell. I told Robert to start at the back, and I'd start looking at the front.
Before long the awful brutes of mosquitoes had found me. Ack! I tried looking for a new marker, but was being eaten alive. I waved to Robert, and he came running as he thought I'd found it.
He didn't say a word, but I told him we'd have to come back in the morning as I was being bitten too much. He said "Well, I didn't find Nellie's grave, but I did spot a new one that said Florence May Palmer." 
I just stared at him, and then I shrieked. 
For some reason he thought I was looking for Nellie Williams grave. (buried in Spalding)
So the whole point of this story is this:
When your spouse helps you on a long trip like this, please make sure you understand the full NAME of the person you are seeking, and much time will be saved!
Anyhow, all's well that ends well.
Florence Palmer's grave marker is in a plot of un-marked graves, so Jennifer made sure her stone was elevated so the grass mower wouldn't run over it. 
This was a very thrilling moment for me.

By Loretta (Williams) Houben