The past few months have seen several changes at the pioneer East Union Memorial Cemetery, beginning with the passing of Evelyn Prouty in July.
Proutyn was a staunch supporter of the cemetery going as far as to even dig graves. Prouty along with Bill Good were the driving forces for keeping it well-tended, open, and operating, though on a limited basis. Recently Good decided to retire as manager of the cemetery, heeding his children’s request to live closer to them. This meant reorganization was needed. There is a new, small group of people who have volunteered to take on the responsibility of caring for it.
New board members include Mike Hunsucker, treasurer; Pat Metzler, secretary; Gloria Stanley, vice president; John Strouss, grounds superintendent; and Janice Zacharias, president. Immediate plans include continuing work on the landscaping, including removal of trees that are diseased or buckling sidewalks; planting trees to replace those removed; putting records in order; and reorganizing the shop area. Plans for the future include finishing the requirements needed to be state-certified, and fund raising to support long-range improvements, such as a wrought-iron fence to replace the existing chain link fence.
East Union Cemetery — at the corner of Louise Avenue and Union Road — was set aside 144 years ago as the resting place for this area’s early settlers and their descendants, and it remains one of San Joaquin County’s oldest landmarks.
Some local families have several generations of relatives interred on the historic grounds. In addition, many veterans are buried there, including some from the Civil War, the two World Wars, and more recent conflicts. It is believed to be the oldest continuously-maintained historical site in Manteca, and is worthy of preservation.
The new board is aware that there is much to be done, and stresses that volunteers are welcome. If you or a group that you are affiliated with wish to volunteer, please contact John Strouss at 823.8533 to determine what is currently needed at the cemetery, and to coordinate schedules.