Eugene Masonic Cemetery Association eNewsletter
Hope Abbey Mausoleum

In This Issue
Work Party
Daylight Savings Time
Music To Die For Returns
Landscape Changes
Notable Person
Last Sunday Open House
Did You Know?
Did you know that TJ "Jeff" Smith, a Eugene real estate developer buried in the Masonic Cemetery, was an early advocate of "Death with Dignity"?  He was 39 when his doctor informed him that he had a brain tumor that would soon result in insanity.  TJ told his friends that he would not "end his days as a raving maniac, but would take his own life while he was yet in his right mind."  He then made his will and shot himself in the head.  This was in 1890.

His obituary stated that his act was "not a case of suicide, in the ordinary meaning of the word at all, but a brave and sensible act, in the opinion of his friends.  And almost the entire community were his friends, for he was a brave, noble, generous, sensible man, whose kind, charitable deeds endeared him to the people."


Consider making a contribution through PayPal, available on our website. When you click below, you'll be taken to the EMCA website, where you can access the PayPal donate button. Help us preserve this important part of Eugene's history. Thank you. 



Work Party

Giant Snowdrop Giveaway!

The cemetery's beautiful giant snowdrop patch has expanded and needs thinning. Come join us in digging snowdrops from designated areas and taking home what you'd like for your garden! There are thousands to be shared, so invite your friends too!
Friday March 9th, 2018  10 am until noon.
Meet at Pioneer Square at the top of the hill.
Hope to see you there!

Spring Forward

Don't forget next Sunday, March 11th, is the beginning of Daylight Savings time. Remember to set your clock forward an hour.

Music To Die For
This popular program of free monthly concerts will resume on June 24th. Performers are being chosen now.

All programs start at 2 PM on the Last Sundays of the month. More info will follow when available.
By Denny Hellesvig

Ever since EMCA became the owner of the Masonic Cemetery, we have faced the challenge of the landscape. At first, in the mid-1990s, we were faced with wresting the cemetery from the clutches of invasive English Ivy, blackberries and poison oak. These all had to be ripped from the ground and hauled away.

As the plant materials became more manageable, some of the lawn areas were mowed regularly, especially around the main entrance and the Public Square. Refinements of the hardscape were also needed. Paths were barked to get rid of the mud, and drives were re-graveled. In 2003 the planting beds in front of Hope Abbey were planted and irrigated. This was the first refinement of the cemetery's landscape plan.

More recently we have taken a close and critical look at the cemetery as a whole. Plant materials that have overgrown paths were removed in some areas to better recognize the pattern of streets and alleys that form the grid of burial plots. And some native plants are being thinned to give better access to burial plots and  beautiful grave markers. Besides being a community resource of native and heritage landscape, we want to express this ten acre site as the cemetery that it is. We are working to balance these two aspects of the site.

The biggest recent change has been enhancement with new special plantings of some key areas. The main entrance gate area is now planted with new shrubs, most of which are blooming specimens. We have also graded and planted the new Memorial Garden (a new area for cremated remains) with native plantings of ferns, Oregon grape, vine maples, salal and others.

All these enhancements add design clarity and beauty to the cemetery. It will continue to be the inviting and contemplative place it has become. To keep it that way, our job of maintenance will go on forever. That's our commitment, and we invite you to come and see for yourself what we've done.
The "Energizer Bunny" Alkaline Battery

The Eugene Masonic Cemetery has many notable people interred within its boundaries. One such person is Karl Kordesch, Ph.D.

Dr. Kordesch was born in Austria, but immigrated to the United States after WWII as part of Operation Paperclip, a secret program that brought some of Europe's foremost scientists to this country. Dr. Kordesch had been leading research in theoretical and applied electrochemistry—think batteries and fuel cells. Once here, he worked with the U.S Army Signal Corp at Ft. Monmouth, New Jersey, to improve battery technology for military use.

He later worked for Union Carbide, and one of his notable accomplishments was battery research that resulted in the filing for, and granting of, a patent for the ubiquitous alkaline battery used for everything from wall clocks to toys to flashlights. Think the Energizer Bunny.

Dr. Kordesch also envisioned the coming of electric vehicles (EV). But in order for EVs to be practical, he fully acknowledged the need for a much improved source of electrical energy. Batteries, even today, are only marginally adequate. What was needed, he thought, was a battery-like device that could accept an external fuel source, such as hydrogen, and generate electricity directly and continuously. Such a device is called a fuel cell.

At the time, fuel cells were too expensive and unreliable to be a practical, commercial success. Many such problems still exist with fuel cells, but his research led to a number of breakthrough developments, which greatly reduced the cost and improved reliability. Currently, all major vehicle makers have significant fuel cell research programs underway that build on improvements made by Dr. Kordesch.

He died in 2011, age 88, and his wife, a botanist, wanted burial in a natural setting.  Catherine, his daughter and a Eugene resident, decided the Masonic Cemetery was perfect. Both her parents are now buried there. Her father's papers are part of the Oregon State University archives. 

"Last Sunday of the Month" Open House
The Eugene Masonic Cemetery Association welcomes visitors to Hope Abbey on the last Sunday of each month except December, from 1 to 4 pm Open once a month to the public, this mausoleum is a local treasure. At least two Board or staff hosts will be present to answer any questions you may have. Please stop by March 25th and say "Hello."

Located at 25th and University. Questions: call 541-684-9049 or email
John Bredesen
eNewsletter Editor
Eugene Masonic Cemetery Association, 25th & University, Eugene, OR 97405
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