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Sierra Madre Pioneer Cemetery

At the corner of Coburn and Sierra Madre Blvd.

Photos of the Cemetery

In 1881, Nathaniel Coburn Carter purchased 2.32 acres of land located along Central Ave., which has since been renamed Sierra Madre Blvd.  The land was to be the location of the Sierra Madre Pioneer Cemetery.  In 1884, John Richardson, a Civil War veteran who had recently moved to Sierra Madre became the first person interred in the Cemetery.  Members of twelve of the first seventeen families that lived in Sierra Madre when it was founded in 1881, are buried in the cemetery.

Also buried in the Cemetery are veterans of the Civil War, both Union and Confederate, the Spanish American War, World War One, World War Two, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War.  There are also some soldiers of the British Commonwealth buried in the Cemetery.

Until 1911, the Cemetery had no formal caretaking operation in place.  At that time, The Sierra Madre Cemetery Association was established as an Arizona corporation.  Funds for the upkeep of the Cemetery were generated by the sale of gravesites and stock in the Cemetery.  It was at that time that official records of those interred were kept for the first time.  By 1938, most of the plots had been sold and the Cemetery Association had essentially become defunct.  The cemetery plot records were turned over to a local mortuary around this time (these records have since been returned to the current association). The cemetery fell into neglect, except for the efforts of volunteers, family members of those interred, local members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and American Legion, and the City of Sierra Madre. 

A new Sierra Madre Cemetery Association was organized in 1961, which has maintained the cemetery ever since.  Current head of maintenance of the grounds is Chris Cimino.  Current President of the Association is George Enyedi.  Records of those buried in the more than century-old cemetery are incomplete, but attempts are underway, by the current all-volunteer Board of Directors to recreate as much of the old data as possible.  In recent years, a new retaining wall was built, and the "usable" area of the Cemetery was expanded, allowing again the sale of plots within the Cemetery.  Recently, a Memorial "cottage" that houses a computerized touch-screen directory of the plots was built, using donated funds

Each year, Memorial and Veterans’ Day services are held in the cemetery, sponsored by the Sierra Madre Veterans of Foreign Wars, Harry L. Embree Post 3208. The  VFW also keeps ongoing records of veterans interred in the cemetery and with the help of local Scout Troop 373, decorates the veteran's graves with flags in their honor for the ceremonies.  Below are links to pages showing photos of two of the Memorial Day observances.

Some of the above information was excerpted from "History of the Sierra Madre Cemetery"  By Bryan Duffy

Here are some links to events that have taken place in the Cemetery.

VFW Memorial Day Service at Pioneer Cemetery, 5/26/03

Funeral Service for Jim Heasley, July 23

Veterans of Foreign Wars Memorial Day Ceremony at Pioneer Cemetery, 5/29/00


Robinson Family headstone

Timothy Teigler headstone

Velasquez family plot

Citizen of the Year 2002 Jim Heasley's headstone

A view toward the hills

Room for new plots

Memorial shed features touch-screen plot directory, plaques in tribute to local clergy

One of the plaques

Construction of the memorial shed was funded in part by the sale of floor tiles

Three more plaques

Looking south from the shed, there are lots of oaks for shade

Flag waves along Sierra Madre Blvd.

The Cemetery, like the Ford, has survived the ages

Headstone of Sierra Madre's founder Nathaniel Carter and wife

Scout Pack 373 places flag on veteran's headstones each Memorial Day


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