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Sonora Independent Order of Odd Fellows Adopt a Grave & Cemetery Clean Up Day

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Date(s) - 05/03/2014
9:00 am - 4:00 pm

Sonora IOOF Cemetery


On Saturday, May 03 2014, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. the Sonora Odd Fellows are beginning the county’s first Adopt a Grave program for the IOOF cemetery located at 115 West Lyttton Street in downtown Sonora.  The cemetery is one of the county’s oldest, most historic cemeteries, and is the final resting place of many of the community’s founding members and honored veterans. The IOOF mission is to visit the sick, relieve the distressed, bury the dead and educate the orphan.  Early Odd Fellows took burying the dead very seriously, and most lodges purchased cemeteries as soon as a town was formed.  The historic IOOF cemetery was established in 1856. It is a non-endowment cemetery, and receives no funding or maintenance other than what the Sonora lodge members provide.  Due to declining and aging membership, the cemetery received very little maintenance for decades. The Sonora Odd Fellows have made the cemetery a priority this year and have already made many improvements.  Vagra!

nts and vandals have defaced and destroyed priceless headstones and other parts of the cemetery, creating a much larger job than the current small membership can do alone.


The Adopt a Grave program will allow interested individuals or organizations to tour the historic cemetery and choose a plot to adopt.  Some plots are concrete and may require only a good sweeping, and others require much more.  Adopting a grave requires visiting the plot on a regular basis and tending to the graves and edging.  Adopters may plant flowers or place floral tributes.  All maintenance of the fixed features of the plot (railings, fencing, headstones, etc.) requires prior approval by the cemetery trustee to ensure historical integrity. Family members of those buried at the Sonora Odd Fellows are encouraged to contact the Odd Fellows to advise of their interest in maintaining their family plot or having it adopted.

On May 03, 2014, people are invited to choose a grave to adopt at no fee after completing a brief registration form. For those interested in helping clean up on May 03rd, but who do not want to adopt a plot, the membership will provide bottled water. Participants will need to bring their own tools (a broom, rake, gloves, wheelbarrow, etc). Donations are also accepted.  The Sonora Odd Fellows thanks the community for helping us honor and respect the Odd Fellows cemetery.