Monday, May 27, 2013


Tom knows the names of them all, who is descended from whom, who married whom, where they lived and died.  I have a hard time remembering and keeping it all straight.  But these are his people.

With a genealogy chart in hand for my benefit, we set off to honor some ancestors, some of them who also served their country in the armed services.

It was raining as we drove south on the freeway, a dismal day.  But we had proper clothes, a comfortable car, and the ability to stay warm and dry, and even make coffee stops along the way.  The people who have rested here for a century didn't have it so easy.
This is the final resting place of the Vandervoorts and the Bowers, related to Tom through his paternal grandmother.
Joseph and Mary Bower are Tom's great great grandparents, parents of Ella Vandervoort.
Ella was the wife of John Vandervoort, Tom's Great Grandfather (below). Ella never made it to Washington State.  She died in childbirth in 1890. John and his children to moved west by or before 1900.  One of those children was Tom's Grandma Gertie.
We set out next toward Olympia, where Gertie is buried.

On the way, along back country roads, we made a stop at the old general store in East Olympia.  Here Gertie and her husband, Joe Reeder were the owners and proprietors, and Gertie was the postmistress.

The store is still in business, and still an important fixture in this rural community.  There is a new post office however, not just a back room in the store anymore.

Tom had a great conversation with the current owner, Jenny Johnson.  We chatted, looked around, and had ice cream for lunch.

The Olympia Cemetery is where we find the Reeders, starting with Great Grandfather Seneca Reeder, Civil War Veteran,

along with Great Grandmother Mary Ann Reeder.

 And here too are Gertie Vandervoort Reeder and her husband, Joseph Reeder, Tom's grandparents.
 And then we get to the people I knew, and still miss, Tom's parents Bud and Bernice Reeder.
Bud's sister, Tom's aunt Clessie, who was an Army nurse during WWII.

 I love the wonderful old trees here, sheltering these old folks.
Tom's Aunt Wanda Gertrude Reeder Foster is here too, along with her Robert.  She had 97 years of a fulfilling life.
But not everyone here had such a timely death, and the younger ones' passings are still painful to remember.  Rest in peace, Cousin Sydney, and your beloved son Joe.
No one in this group died in military service to their country, but some did serve.  All led productive lives, overcame hardships, and were loved and missed.

Today they are remembered.


  1. I love old cemeteries. I have a great grandfather who fought in the civil war & an uncle killed in the Battle of Normandy in WW II. They're buried in the same country cemetery. Caleb is very interested int one killed in the Battle of Normandy. Wish I could take him to his grave but Texas is far away. Glad you got to visit yours today. It's important.

  2. Great pictures, Linda. I laughed out loud at the beer commercial one. it's been dreary here all afternoon, still raining right now.

  3. I realized while reading your post that my family has no Memorial Day tradition because we are first generation immigrants and none of our ancestors are buried here. We never had any cemetaries to visit. It's interesting to see your long ties to the PAcific Northwest.

  4. What a lovely journey you took and spent the time remembering. Lots of stories there.
    I too laughed out loud at the Beer sign and would have loved checking out that store. How nice you could give the current owners the past history of the place.

  5. That is the kind of Memorial Day I remember.

  6. There's nothing like a trip through the cemetery to help remember those who have left us. Cemeteries tell us much about our family history. My family came to Canada about 1900 so family history here is limited.
    You live in a very beautiful area.

  7. That beer ad was so cute, I read it aloud to David. He replied, "That's why I like beer so much." Ha!

  8. This was a very interesting post. I too was intrigued that Tom's family goes so far back with its history in the northwest. The cemeteries are beautiful and lush. I love poking around cemeteries and reading the old headstones. It was also interesting to see the old store and read of its tie to Tom's family. You certainly had a wonderful Memorial Day.

  9. lovely roses shows your caring and respect for family!

  10. It looks like we had similar weekends, though you got the rain and we didn't.

    I enjoyed your cemetery visits and learning more about your family. Beautiful pictures!

    Kathy M.

  11. Wow what an amazing post, Linda. I often visit the older cemeteries around here. I only have grandparents on my Mother's side in the Seattle area. Prior are all in the midwest. I guess we are newbees. None of my Father's family are out here. I really enjoyed this post.
    We used to call Memorial Day Decoration Day. MB

  12. Your beautiful roses do them honor, Linda. This is a wonderful way to commemorate this day. By the way, your header photo is absolutely startlingly spectacular! Wow!

  13. What a meaningful way to spend Memorial Day. In our fast paced world, it is too easy to concentrate on the here and now and forget the important people from our past. You did a great job of documenting your journey through the family tree.


I would love to read your comments. Since I link most posts to Facebook, you may comment there if you do not have an account. I have eliminated Anonymous comments due to spammers.