Sunday, May 17, 2015

P is for Pleasant Valley Cemetery

Vineyards in Estrella Area of Paso Robles, © B. Radisavljevic
A dear friend of my husband, Walter Heer, was laid to rest May 15, in a cemetery I had never heard of here in Paso Robles, Pleasant Valley Cemetery. It is also known as Estrella Cemetery, since it's on Estrella Road about a mile east of Airport road. To get there we passed the boarded up old boy's school and the airport. Shortly after that the scenery changed to mostly vineyards the rest of the way.

Casket Arrives at Pleasant Valley Cemetery in Mule-Driven Cart © B. Radisavljevic
Walt's remains arrived by a mule-driven cart. This photo reflects Walt's love of America. He was a veteran of the Vietnam War, and he had a color guard as the casket was removed from the cart and put in place for the service. Just before the service began, a bugler played taps. The  soldiers removed the flag and folded it with great ceremony before giving it to  Walt's son. If you  have never seen this done, it's hard to imagine how moving it is.

Before the Memorial Service for Walter Heer at Pleasant Valley Cemetery , © B. Radisavljevic
A short graveside service followed. The pastor read the obituary and shared some Scripture passages before saying a few personal things about Walt's faith. Then he opened up the service for others who wanted to share memories.

The cemetery, as you can see, is surrounded by vineyards. During the service some people mentioned that those vineyards used to be farmland. Many at the service had farmed the land, just as Walt had. Most of the people buried here are, like Walt, longtime residents of the area who came from families who were longtime residents. The land was donated to the county for this graveyard. Its only maintenance is done by members of the Von Dollen family, who cut back the weeds once a year.

 Pleasant Valley Cemetery. Paso Robles, CA, © B. Radisavljevic
Very few people are still laid to rest here and most of the plots I saw are large family plots. I am assuming most of them belong to the farming families who originally owned the land in this area, and many probably still do. Others, like Walt, have sold their land and retired to the city. It is my opinion that some of Paso Robles' finest rest here and that it is a privilege to be forever in the midst of the land one has loved and worked.

Any of these photos can be enlarged if you click on them.
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