Eugene Masonic Cemetery Association eNewsletter
Hope Abbey Mausoleum

In This Issue
Music To Die For
An Operating Cemetery
Masonic Gift
Cemetery Ice Storm
Dynamic Duo
Did You Know?

In 1857 when Eugene was still known, first as Skinner's Mud Hole, then as Eugene City until renamed in 1864, the city needed a cemetery for its growing population. A letter from the city to Eugene Masonic Lodge No.11, A.F & A.M led to the founding of the Eugene Masonic cemetery in 1859, the same year Oregon became the 33rd state. Eugene Skinner was the first initiate of Lodge No.11.
Music To Die For
The popular Music To Die For music series will resume in June, 2017. It can't practically be continued during the colder months because there is no heat in the mausoleum.
Operating Cemetery

The Eugene Masonic Cemetery is an operating cemetery. That means there are plots and crypts, as well as scatter rights, available for sale to the public. It also means that burials and interments take place.
If you'd be interested in finding more about this beautiful cemetery, contact Sally Dietrich, the EMCA Administrator and Sexton.  She can be reached at our website.


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. 



Restoration Gift from
Masonic Lodge No. 11

Over the past 20 years, huge efforts have gone into the restoration of Hope Abbey Mausoleum, ranging from a new roof, installation of 82 replica stained glass windows, creation of a public lavatory, and so forth. The list goes on. In the "large project" category yet to be done, interior marble replacement is high on the list. Over many years, numerous pieces of marble have been broken, stained or stolen. A proposal from OM Stone in Hillsboro to replace all the missing/defective marble came to about $20,000, a huge sum for a relatively small non-profit organization like ours.

Following discussion of priorities in the cemetery and within the Masonic Lodge, a proposal
was made to Eugene Masonic Lodge No. 11 A.F. & A.M to help with the project, and to our delight, the full amount was approved! This will allow us to complete the project all at once, rather than fundraising in smaller amounts. Thanks go to Rich Maris, Secretary of Eugene Lodge No. 11 and also a board member of the EMCA, for helping present our case to the Lodge. The photo above shows EMCA President Crystal Persi accepting the $20,000 check from Rich Maris.

Additionally, subject to annual approval of the Lodge, a sum of $10,000 for the next three years will be made available, and will be eligible for doubling if the EMCA can match that amount each year.
Sincere thanks go to Eugene Lodge No. 11 A.F. & A.M. for their generosity and help toward our goal of insuring the long term sustainability of the cemetery and mausoleum.  

Cemetery Ice Storm
By Denny Hellesvig 
Landscape Manager Wendi Propst & Groundskeeper Steve Kuchera

Severe storms which come through our area can be counted on to damage trees and other plants in the Masonic Cemetery. When that happens, the heavy work falls to our two person grounds crew, Wendi Propst, Landscape Manager, and Steve Kuchera. Groundskeeper, and they did their duty - big time!
The great ice storm of December 2016 was no exception. It made a mess of the cemetery: well, almost. Unlike the city, the cemetery suffered a great mess of downed limbs, mostly large fir limbs, and lots of trash. However, the loss of trees was minimal with only a few Madrone trees destroyed and some significant damage to large oak trees and one Ponderosa pine. The lack of major tree loss can be credited to the tree maintenance Wendi and Steve have been managing over recent years.
The cleanup began immediately, and one large fir tree that was leaning was removed before New Year's. The big job is still cleaning up the debris. Wendi and Steve have been collecting it into piles around the cemetery for disposal. There's a lot of it, and we are investigating a method to chip the branches and limbs on site, saving the cost of both disposal, and then having to repurchase mulch. Seems to make a lot of sense. It may result in contracting the work or possibly purchasing a chipper if the cost justifies the investment. The Board of Directors will rely on the advice of our superb grounds crew in making that decision. Thank you both!
Celebrating EMCA's Dynamic Duo:
John Bredesen and Denny Hellesvig
By Caroline Forell
Dynamic Duo
On the evening of November 19, 2016, EMCA Board members and friends gathered at Oveissi & Co to honor two extraordinary men: John Bredesen and Denny Hellesvig. It was a surprise celebration and, in fact, they were surprised.
John and Denny have been Board members during much of EMCA's history, each serving in leadership roles. John was president from 2004 to 2014 and, again, in 2015-16, times during which the cemetery and Hope Abbey were transformed. Denny is the Board treasurer par excellence. He balances the books and keeps the Board financially well informed.
Hope Abbey's restoration owes much to the joint effort of John and Denny. John supervised the electrical and plumbing systems and the bathroom renovation. Denny oversaw the marble and other restoration and the installation of the entrance porch and ramps, copper doors and much more. Bringing Hope Abbey's clerestory windows back to their original glory is another combined achievement. They also worked together on construction of the Garden Cottage, with Denny as architect and project manager, and John overseeing the electrical and plumbing systems.
There are many individual accomplishments of note too. Denny has led the way in tombstone repair, improvement of the main cemetery entrance, and construction of the two steles. John is the brains (and often the brawn) behind the Music To Die For series and Sacred Harp Singers concerts. He also is responsible for starting the EMCA Endowments Fund. Both John and Denny are successful grant writers.
John and Denny have performed miracles for the cemetery and Hope Abbey. It's impossible to overstate their individual and combined achievements. They are indeed the EMCA's dynamic duo.

John Bredesen
eNewsletter Editor