Thursday, June 18, 2009

How to find the gravesite of Dad's parents, Mah Foo and Ven Fong Wong

First, you go to Red Deer, Alberta.

It was only after arriving at Gaetz Memorial Church for Auntie Kathy's services on June 1 that we discovered that she was not being buried at the same graveyard as my grandparents. We always thought of Red Deer as a pretty small place, but with 88,000 current residents, they have two graveyards. This left us without much time to visit both graveyards before making the 75 minute drive back to Calgary to catch our plane.

When the procession after the services appeared to have no police escort, and we realized the entire group was doing a drive-by of the family house (A Chinese luck ritual... there's a million of 'em), Mom wisely suggested we bail on that caravan and go find Dad's parents' site first. Unfortunately, the directions I gleaned and cross-referenced from people before the service were terrible. We took a long time to finally find the Red Deer Cemetery.

Best tip: The cemetery is only listed as being on "55 Street," but if you put 3980 55 St, Red Deer, Alberta into a Google Maps search, it comes up right at the cemetery entrance. There's plenty of street parking. If Google changes over time and this search doesn't work so well, just find the "Michener Centre" and go West a block or so. Or try "55 St. and McLellan Drive." At this point in time, the satellite photo loaded into Google is ancient... the cemetery is hardly developed at all. Park near the Google "A" on the map and follow the red line to the red dot.
The following photo sequence shows the views you'll see as you walk towards the spot. Once you get to the giant shed to the left of section V, you count in 13 rows to the right and then go halfway up the row. Right now there's a birdhouse at the other end of row 13.
Finally, here's a shot of me completing the mission to spread Dad's ashes on his parents' grave.
Last stop, Alto Reste with Uncle Harold and Auntie Kathy.

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