Finding Closure On Find a Grave®

In 1964, after years of planning, work began on the Granduc Mine some 20 miles north of the town of Stewart in British Columbia, Canada. The mine was an ambitious project with two mining camps, one on either end of what was to be a 17 mile tunnel shaft through copper-laden rock under a glacier. The opportunity for good pay and adventure attracted men from all over to the site.

Among those who came to work at Granduc were Blake and Rod Rose, two young brothers, 21 and 23 years old respectively, who came from Vancouver against the advice of their parents.

Photo from – click to view article

Vilmos Fekete came too. To Vilmos, who had had to leave his wife and two children in his native Hungary when he fled political turmoil there some years earlier, the work at Granduc must have seemed like a perfect opportunity to raise some much needed money.

Vilmos and Iren Rozgonyi Fekete (photo courtesy of Vilmos’ son)

Tragically, on February 18, 1965, just months after the mining began and only a week after Blake and Rod Rose arrived at the portal camp, a massive avalanche poured off the surrounding hills, destroying the camp, killing 26 men and trapping others under the snow and in the still-shallow mine tunnel.

Photo from – click to view article

An extensive rescue operation got underway at the camp site while, in Vancouver, the Rose family waited eagerly for news of their boys’ fate and were later heartbroken to learn that both boys were among the dead. Their bodies were returned to Vancouver and are buried in the Mountain View Cemetery. The Fekete family in Hungary hadn’t known Vilmos was at the mine and had no news of the disaster. They were just left to wonder why they never heard from him again.

In 2013, while passing through Stewart on their way home from a trip to Alaska, Diane Gravlee and her husband noticed a small 116 burial cemetery. Being avid Find a Grave® contributors, they took a day, photographed the graves and added them to the site, including the grave of Vilmos Fekete.

About a year later, Diane received an email from a very excited man. It was Vilmos Fekete’s son, now a grown man with children of his own. His family had moved to the United States and one day he decided to search the internet for his father’s name. The Find a Grave memorial that Diane had created for Vilmos came up and from it he was able to learn what had happened to his father and where he was buried.

Vilmos’ son and his wife went to visit the grave and were welcomed warmly by a mounted policeman, the local priest, the mayor and other citizens of Stewart, all present to help celebrate Vilmos’ life. Diane said, “To have been a part of this happening has made all my Find a Grave work so worthwhile.”

You never know when a contribution you make to Find a Grave will provide just the information someone is looking for. Thank you to Diane and to Find a Grave volunteers everywhere who donate their time to make these kinds of discoveries possible and preserve the memory of those who have passed on.


  1. My daughter and I, are Stonekillers too! We volunteer for a Grand Army Of The Republic Civil War
    Cemetery, here in northeastern Pennsylvania. Families across the country, originally from the
    coal mining valley, write or email with their requests. We have formed a paper log and most times
    a family tree for them. This valley was a melting pot of people, from all countries. We have or had
    13 cemeteries here, because we are on a mountain, thus grounds for burials. We have many,
    many years in. Mining and shops, businesses and boarding houses! The first Rollercoaster,
    called the Switchback, used for coal hauling, then for tourists riding. Jim Thorpe, buried here!
    We believe we are making a patchwork quilt, one square at a time, with each find. We also
    believe that those we find, are waiting for us and live again, in the hearts and minds of their
    families and my daughter, Karen and I. Joyous reunions and tears unleashed, together we
    celebrate their lives again.
    All of this made possible by Find A Grave….

    • Diane thank you and your husband for your heartfelt help and bringing answers and closure for the family. Be blessed in all you doing.
      I try to help ppl who are Arlington Memorial Park in Jacksonville Florida. My husband and I visit weekly and share pics and clean unmaintenced graves. Hoping to keep shining light for others.

  2. One of things I do on findagrave is sometimes (randomly) looking for people buried in Jewish cemeteries. Then if the inscriptions are in Hebrew, I provide the translation of their Hebrew names, and often the names of their fathers. (That is the Ashkenazi Jewish tradition; the Sephardi tradition often has the mothers’ names.) In this way, I hope this helps people confirm the ancestry of the deceased — at least partially.

    I have also added photos and inscriptions from a couple of places in Europe, where some of the cemeteries have only some fraction of the original stones, that weren’t either destroyed during WW II; not repurposed for paving roads or other uses; and not completely vandalized.

    Findagrave is one of the places where these can be made available for those who search. So it is a boon for all of us.

    • I don’t have relatives buried in Europe but have visited several cemeteries there and never thought of war time destroying them and the history of families. Thank you for putting another twist on my reading here.

    • Madeleine, thank you so much for doing these translations. You are a Godsend. I have been trying to translate what is on my dads headstone which is written in Hebrew. If it is ok with you, I will be looking you up on findagrave. My dads name is Frank Klein and he is buried in Mt. Lebanon in Sharon Hill, PA. My name is Deborah Klein Staats.

    • This is such a wonderful thing that you have done to provide those translations. I absolutely love Find A Grave and its search capabilities. I live in Texas but recently helped a Jewish friend locate the older graves of relatives in the Baltimore, Maryland. She had the opportunity to go for a visit and searched out the cemeteries. On her return, she couldn’t wait to tell me how excited and gratified she was to pay her respects to those elders in her family.

    • Madeleine. You know about JOWBR? It have Jewish graves. Go to and you will see it. Send your pics to them! Thank you.

    • Madeline

      I had started entering the memorials for the Cimtero Ebraico in Acqui Terme, Italy. I managed to enter the names of some memorials that were transferred form the old cemetery since they were not in Hebrew. Would you do the translations for the other memorials that I take? It is a difficult cemetery to document since it is closed to the public. The memorials are in pretty rough shape and I wanted to create a record before time takes a further toll.

      If you will help I will make an effort to take more photos next summer.

  3. I also belong to FindAGrave: A few years back I was asked to locate a young teen daughter for a Mother that lived in a foreign European country. She could not come to America to bury her daughter. She provided her name and the location of the cemetery. It was in Sana Rosa Beach, Florida and was a very large and old cemetery. I contacted the caretaker and it took us several days , but we did locate her grave marker, the Mother was relieved to see her daughter’s final resting place. In our area we have a lot of foreign young people coming here to work, and they are provided bicycles for transportation. She was on her bike.

    Sherry Lynn Tayor

  4. I cried! Two times. First to know of those poor victims lost, they held such high hopes, and such a tragedy that ended those hopes and dreams. How beautiful that Vilmos’ son was showered with such love and long-awaited closure–thanks to Diane. I cried more! Sadly, they all left behind loved ones. I bless them all, and may Vilmos rest in eternal peace on this lovely ground.

    • Linda, there is an edit option on each Find a Grave. If you join find a grave you can suggest an edit. I do it all the time. Often people have two find a graves, or the date on the headstone doesn’t match what is written, or like you said, they just plain have the wrong information. I just suggest the edit and then I guess whoever is in charge of that memorial checks it out. I eventually get an email back saying they have accepted my edit or not. I have corrected hundreds of memorials. I am also all about accuracy. It’s a small thing compared to what a lot of people here are doing, but it definitely helps. We need all the help we can get with this ancestry work. 😊
      Debbie Brimhall

  5. I too wish to thank those that take the time to work with Find a Grave. They definitely provide a valuable service. However, unfortunately I have found information attached to relatives that was not accurate. In one case numerous children and siblings names were added to an individual, but only about half of them were actual relatives. I made every effort to find out where the information was obtained that they had attached to my relative but never received a response from the person’s contact information that was listed. So, I am hoping that more care and accuracy is taken before adding information on a Find a Grave individual. I have a saying I tell my family – “I don’t care who I am related to, I just want it to be accurate.”

    • Linda – you can go in and edit anything that is incorrect. You will have to become a member to do it. I have corrected many and updated many stone pictures. I have been busy at our local cemeteries cleaning the stones and once they are clean I take a picture and update them on Find a Grave. Unknown identities drives me nuts.

  6. When researching my husbands family In the 1970s In a genealogy library, I looked in the Tennessee section and found my Mother’s maiden name Haggard in a cemetery. I wrote it down just in case. It wasn’t until later that I began research on my family. It turned out to be my mother’s great grandparents. She didn’t even know who they were.

  7. Does any one know of research in the Pocohontas Cemetery in West VA/VA? My great grandfather, Joz’sef Szemetko was killed in a mining accident on Nov. 20, 1894. He is supposed to be buried on a steep hillside used by the cemetery. Two cousins visited the area and were shown a notation on the mining books that listed my great grandfather’s name and date of death but they were unable to negotiate the steep terrain. I have written the cemetery association but had no positive results. Does anyone have any suggestions or contact with people in this area?

  8. Mrs. Catherine Downs Luling, Texas, Luling Civic Cemetery, Luling, Texas

  9. I happened onto FIND-A-GRAVE after I got a computer a number of years ago. It touched my heart deeply, as I thought what a GIFT to the world. People who had lived their lives—and more than likely might have never been known about and remembered—are “brought to life again” by

    It is a JOY and a Privilege to be able to have a small part in Remembering Precious Souls who have lived and died—and have “Gone On To Their Reward.”

    We don’t come into this life to just take our place and inhabit Planet Earth…..Each of us born into this life are SPECIAL and MUST BE REMEMBER AS SUCH.

    THANK YOU FIND-A-GRAVE for YOUR GIFT TO HUMANITY—–And because of YOU—All who become CONTRIBUTORS have the Honor and the Privilege to REMEMBER THOSE WHO HAVE GONE ON. Perhaps, at our “passing from this life to the next”—We too will be remembered…….MAY IT BE SO.

  10. My mother died of pancreatic cancer when I was 4 years old, and all I knew was that she had been originally buried in the Gamboa Cemetery in Rio de Janeiro. I was then sent to England within 6 months to be brought up by my paternal grandparents.
    Many years later, after I had said to my father on one of his infrequent visits that I wanted to go back to Brazil to visit her grave, he told me that she did not have an actual grave, this devastated me as it felt as if I had lost her forever. It was not until I searched FindaGrave that I found that a memorial to her had been listed. This was a revelation as I had thought there was no record of her anywhere, and I thank the person who photographed and researched the details for giving me closure.
    Now I know that she is remembered and there is a plot number attached to her name, and I have been able to post a picture and more details of her life on the website. This has filled the hole left in my life by her early death, and given searchable proof that she actually existed.
    Thank you FindaGrave from the bottom of my heart.

  11. I just received notification that another friend was cremated and ashes scattered. I find no closure, no viewing, etc. Having done my family geneaology that facilitated my membership in the nsdar, I can’t help but worry about the generations to come.

    • Per my parents’ wishes, their ashes were scattered over a body of water. I was able to have this done by the US Navy (my father was a World War II veteran, and my mother was eligible by marriage). I had their cremains sent together for a double ceremony. After I was notified of the date/time/location of the scattering, I posted to the memorial on Find-A-Grave. I believe others have done the same. As you said, I didn’t want the final resting place to be basically lost to future generations. When my husband’s cremains are scattered and I receive the information from the US Navy, I will post that information there too.

      • Memorial markers can be obtained by family members with appropriate credentials for U.S. Veterans lost or buried at sea, cremated and scattered, etc. Baltimore National Cemetery has a designated area for such markers. All of the people I dealt with throughout the process of interment of my uncle’s ashes there were very respectful, knowledgeable, and kind. One of them suggested the memorial marker for someone who was buried at sea. Further information is available at:

    • I too find it very sad that so many are cremated these days, often without an obituary or any public remembrance of the lives they lived.

  12. My father’s family left Liverpool in 1926 on the Montcalm for Canada. My father was born in Canada in 1927. He talked about his family in the UK but never knew where they were buried. After his death in 2005 I searched ancestry and came across “Findagrave”. It took a few years but I was able to finally locate the burial site thanks to a smart Salford Museum student He sent a detailed map of their location in Weaste Cemetry Salford. He found the location of my Great Grandfather and his family. And a further blessing came when.. a very kind man whom I chatted with on Findagrave site went to Weaste Cemetry and took pictures of their marker and posted them to the site for me! I cried! I couldn’t believe how wonderful this man was and how happy I felt connecting to my past family.

  13. My uncle was killed in 1943, and his mother and his 9 siblings were informed that his remains were shortly buried at sea off the coast of Malta. We had a footstone installed next to his mother’s grave when she passed away in 1957. That was all any of our family knew, and, to our knowledge, that stone was his only memorial.
    What a joy–a shock–an astounding moment–occurred when, one day, I entered his name to find his exact birthday. I had done this before, and the stone appeared. This time, pictures and information about a cemetery and huge memorial near Rome appeared. A photograph appeared of his name and some information was displayed showing that his memory had been memorialized on that wall with many others who lost their lives that day as well as many other days. Without Findagrave I would never have known about this–as soon as Covid is “over” I’m going there to touch that wall. Sadly, all his sibling passed away without knowing this, and there’s no one living in the family today who knew him–we’re all too young.
    I thank Findagrave and some wonderful person or people who added that information. Knowing about this memorial gave me and my cousins such comfort, and I thank whoever was responsible for this gift without value for us.

  14. I grew up in Mendota Illinois, at Restland cemetery where my father was the caretaker for 18 years, from 1935 to 1953. He dug 1800 graves (summer/winter), by hand, now power tools. This is an average of 2 a week. So anyone’s family member buried between spring 1935 until fall of 1953, my father did the services. My dads name was Floyd Howarth, known to many as “Red”..
    By the way I’m 85 years young.

  15. Thank you for this story!! So many times in the past, when taking photographs or entering new memorials for long dead individuals, I think about the possibility for this kind of outcome. Knowing that it actually does happen is greatly encouraging.

  16. I found this site on Ancestry .Curiosity got to me,I knew about our family cemetery in Conway ,VA. I hadn’t been there since my grandmother passed in 1963 I was in 9th grade. Now being 73 and both parents gone I knew my little sister was buried there but never seen her marker ,so lo and behold I went on and found the cemetery listed and also found a bit about my baby sister who died when she was almost 3. plus the caretaker had posted many pictures of my uncle, aunts and grandmother and grandfather. Sometime soon I am going to make it back there.

  17. I am a member of Find A Grave. I have been working on finding my family members solely with the intent on finding their grave markers. Unfortunately, I am not finding any success on finding my sister Theresa Legore who was born sleeping in 1971 and my Aunt Marie Snyder who died of leukemia in the mid 1940s.

  18. I love these success stories. Cemeteries and headstones mean much more to me since searching on findagrave. Thank you All.

  19. We are friends with the Fekete family and I don’t believe they know anything about these family relations, the pictures are amazing # the young son looks very much like these two.

    • I think you may have misread the story. The two young Rose brothers weren’t related to Vilmos Fekete. They were two more of the victims of the same avalanche.

  20. Hi Friends,
    My name is Gail Climer, and I volunteer for Find A Grave in Calaveras County, Callifornia. I have a request for information, or possibly assistance in the complete restoration of our Gold Era graveyards in San Andreas and other areas in Calaveras County.
    I got a request for a photo of one of the gravesites of a young woman who was buried in People’s Cemetery in San Andreas. I had been coming to the cemetery for awhile in an effort to start a grave-cleaning, decoration, and maintenance company there. Our cemeteries are in such sad shape. We have many graves of military veterans, gold seekers from the mid to late 1850’s, business people from our litt!e town, and lots of others. Many of the people in the older sections of the cemetery were paupers, and have just had their bodies placed above-ground, as our soil is very rocky, and in some areas dry/sandy. These graves are a mess. I finally found a person who is a local citizen, asked for permission to clean graves and was told no. The graves belong to the family members of the deceased. I asked if he had a register for all the graves which shows decendants. I asked about the possibility for a renewal/preservation of the cemetery, and was told they did not have money to fix it. That was early in 2021, and I not been back there, although he advised me that I should not attempt to clean any of the stones because the County could be sued. I use safe methods of cleaning, and took classes on the cleaning and preservation of historic graves.

    So…here’s the rub.I want to help photograph the graves and find a grant that could be used to restore the cemetery. I’m a 70 year old female, and want to be proud of my town’s main cemetery.

    I guess the list of photo requests will continue to grow, as the County takes no action on a proposal.

    Gail Climer

  21. I’ve been able to find 3rd greatgrandparents through Find a Grave and Ancestry. Com What a thrill to know where they are actually buried. In small cemeteries around Montana you can literally find a marker under a bush planted in a country cemetery. For my husband and I it is like a treasure hunt. You never know who you are going to find. Wish I had started this hobby sooner.

  22. I am a volunteer for findagrave. I have done several in my city of Apple Valley, Ca that’s where the King of Cowboys Roy Rogers & Dale Evans are buried. My husband cousin was a champion NASCAR driver who killed at Riverside Raceway in 1964 & I found his grave stone on findagrave and was totally amazed it is the shape of the raceway and has crossed checkered flags where he was killed, his name is Joe Weatherly. It’s a great feeling to get others pictures when they can’t come to view the families finale resting place.

  23. How do I get involved in Find A Grave? My Husband and i want to do this!!! December Caswell

  24. I’m not sure if I’m a member. I have used this site several times. I recently had a discussion with my husband about so many people, maybe because of cost are opting for cremation. Our future generations will not have the ability to look for their ancestors in graveyards. I see cemeteries with very old tombstones that are barely able to be read. The cemeteries themselves are maintained but not the stones. I was wondering if there are groups that do that? If so, how does one get in contact with them? Thanks. Dianne Reece. Seaford, DE 19973.

  25. I have found death certificates for my paternal grandfather & his 2nd wife showing they are both buried in Mt Jacob cemetery in Pennsylvania. I found them on find a grave but there is no lot information. I called the cemetery but no response. Any suggestions?

  26. I was very moved by this story. It is so amazing that a son could find closure on his father. Life is so hard. Honoring our ancestors is extremely important. It helps us undersyand ourselves. THANK YOU for this article.!

  27. I am the current Sexton at Fly Creek Valley Cemetery in Fly Creek, Otsego Town, Otsego County New York.
    I am very willing to assist anyone who might be seeking information in our area. I am working on organizing our Cemetery records and we have interments that date to the early 19th Century. We have several thousand known occupied graves.
    Wes Ciampo

  28. I have information to add, but I have been unable to verify my account to be able to post.

  29. I enjoy making sure all of my ancestors are remembered and that they are all connected to each other where they need to be sometimes I have to go too other states and research.

  30. How do you become a volunteer for Find A Grave. Is there anything special needed to take pics of graves?

      • Nothing special needed. A smartphone with location services turned on is a great way to go. The cameras are typically sufficient and having the GPS coordinates for the photo really helps.

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