News from Portland

Earlier this month, Eric Cordingley sent an update on his continuing work locating Morningside patient burial sites.

by Eric Cordingley

The weather here has finally turned to “regular” fall weather and we have lots of rain.  This means, of course, that the ground has finally softened up to uncover markers which I hope to do next weekend, weather allowing.

The virtual cemetery is nearing 400.  Check it out!

Riverview Abbey Mausoleum and Crematorium

A recent trip to Riverview Abbey revealed more sad news about former patients whose remains were sent there for cremation (paid for by the family) and then left.  At least 8 boxes of ashes were treated that way and later scattered in the woods behind the crematorium.  Some patients’ cremains were sent to relatives in other states, but for the most part, the ashes were left on the shelf of the crematorium until they were scattered by the staff.

The situation regarding the unclaimed cremains of Charles Marjanen at the Oregon State Hospital is still pressing.  It will be at least another two weeks before I can get to Salem to scan the death certificate.  I will send it out to the team when that happens. 

The Oregon State Hospital has opened a new museum in Salem.  I hope to get there over holiday break and will send photos.

As I reported before, my meeting with Betty Kehoe, former secretary to Wayne Coe, went very well.  At 88, she is still lively and her memories are sharp.  I hope to meet with her again soon – she says she has some documents to show me!

She had specifically asked me what ever happened to Basil Davis, an Aleut man who she developed a friendship with during her time at Morningside.  I believe he was transferred back to Alaska, but where, and is there any way to trace him?

My meeting with the manager of Holman’s funeral service is delayed for awhile until I get through mid-terms.  A recent phone conversation revealed Holman’s holds the records for Davy Sunnyside Funeral Chapel, which handled the funeral contract until 1968.

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