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.

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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. Graves are a gateway to our past. And each grave is an important part of living. A grave gives a look into our own lives. Mark each one. For that person connects with someone else.

  2. This is a phenomenal story, sad, but at least the family has some closure about what happened, without ever hearing from him again.

  3. I found my 3xgreat grand parents’ gravesite because of “Find a Grave” a few years ago. I must have passed their grave a hundred times ( not knowing where they were buried ) as I was on my way to visit the graves of other relatives. I saw the picture and location of their monument on ” Find a Grave “, and the next time I visited the cemetery, I found them! Thank you “Find a Grave”.

    Genevieve Myers Hill

      • My grandmother was also named Genevieve – she was born in 1904 in Poland, which was Russia at the time of her birth. She came to America when she was in her teens w/ her sisters.

  4. This is such a beautiful story and thank you for sharing. This is why I’ve been with Find a Grave for many years. It’s a true labor of love, and if I can help even one person make a connection, I’m so very happy. I’ve heard the phrase, “when an elderly person dies, it’s like a library burning down”. So much history to our past needs recorded. Never let an opportunity pass you by. Sit and talk with your older family members, get their history, their stories, their events down on paper. They are a part of you and need to be remembered. God bless you all in your searching for lost loved ones. This sweet story is just one of many to be shared.

    • Bonnie Bricker Smith, I agree with you. I am the family historian and I remember talking to all of my older relatives and learning about our family. After church on Sundays, my paternal grandmother would call and I would talk to her for a long time and always learned interesting stories. I am a Find a Grave member and have located nearly all of my ancestors who are buried in the USA.

    • FindaGrave has been a very important and rewarding tool that I have relished when researching my ancestors, lo these many years. I say thank you to all the wonderful volunteers who keep it up and growing! We are blessed to have you, each and every one! Rob Granberry, you are one! Hugs. Meli

    • I would add another recommendation. Film or record your parents’ voices, and a video, if you can. You would be amazed at how much it means to those left to have that “living” memory. My father died in 1963. I only wish I had his voice and video, but that was way before our ability to record short videos on our phones!

      • When relatives leave voice-mail on my phone I save them. I even transfer my mom’s (she past 6 years ago) to a disc plus a stick off from my phone. She had called me but didn’t hang up the phone right away so I could hear her talking to my dad.

  5. What a great story and to bring closure to this family after so long had to be wonderful for them. Thank you for sharing.

  6. Find A Grave has helped me so much with my genealogy research. I was able to find out so much about my ancestors from this site. Thanks so much Find A Grave for your website.

    • Hello Lydia! I was reading through the comments and came upon your name, which I never see anywhere. It is my late husband’s family name. You wouldn’t be from Michigan, would you?

  7. I love this story and the research. My reasons for starting as a volunteer more than 20 years ago. Thank you for sharing. This site has made a difference in so many lives both for researchers and lost family members. It’s treasure in research circles and we must keep it as documented as we can. We need proof for every edit. Again Thank you so much for your work and your stories.

  8. Now, who says there are not miracles in our world today. God of love showed those who care what can still happen to help us even in loss. Awesome story! C

  9. Wonderful story, thanks for letting me know, I was just a 6 year old kid in ’65.

  10. I have always enjoyed a slow walk through various cemeteries, and stories such as this is the reason. Thanks for sharing…

  11. I’ve been try for so long to locate the grave of a close friend. Her maiden name was Lorraine Jacobsen from Sheridan Ave. in Brooklyn, NY. She was born in 1948 and died in October of 1970. Her married name was Vanhouten. When she passed she was either living in Brooklyn or Queens, NY. Hopefully someone will see this post and locate her final resting place for me.

  12. I found my 3x great grandmother on find a grave in Oregon after believing she was probably buried next to her husband in Ohio. She apparently had traveled with a daughter and her family after her husband passed away. Love searching on find a grave and contributing when I can.

  13. Bravo !!! This is So Wonderful!! It’s a reminder of how important find a Grave can be to so many searching!!

  14. Thank you much for sharing your story. Wonderful to read of Diane and husband’s contribution.

    Find a Grave is uniquely able to provide instant information for families looking for loved ones and sometimes for those searching for lost loved ones like Vilmos Fekete. May he and the Rose brothers rest in peace.

  15. A few years ago, my wife and I visited the Mesa Arizona cemetery. We searched the cemetery for 4 hours without locating the headstone we were looking for. A man that was busy mowing the lawn finally came over and told us that the cemetery was about to close but he would try to help us. His name was Perez and he looked to be a full blooded indian using quite broken english. We explained who we were looking for and that she was known to be a midwife for the surrounding area. He said, that he was familiar with the grave and took us to the far corner where there were 4 unkept headstones. After cleaning off the base of the headstones, we found our headstone was inscripted, “Doc & Midwife of the poor”. We were excited but the light was poor so we rented a hotel for the night and promised to come back the next day. The next morning, we visited the sextant’s office with what we now knew. Suprisingly, the records keeper denied knowing a grounds keeper named Perez. She stated there was no-one at the cemetery yesterday scheduled to mow the lawn! Anyway we took her to the exact location of the grave to verify her cemetery data. She did in fact have the information we needed to confirm the burial. She even had the newspaper article for the biography of our lost relative. I showed her the muddy foot prints confirming that there were three of us looking around the headstone, so there was no denying that this grounds keeper was real. We never did find out who this misterious person was, but we gained one thing “Sometimes, people from the beyond want to be found, and strangers step forward to help us piece together their past”!

  16. This brought tears to my eyes. A stranger and her random act brought much needed closure. God bless you all who contribute!

  17. Oh my, so interesting. I could tell many stories of families I have reunited. Half siblings that neither new the other existed. A son looking for his father, the father ended up being a WW II hero. A lady who did not know that there were any male relatives when there were many. I could go on and on but yes I have been able to help people locate their relatives simply because of my contributions to Find A Grave.

  18. I haven’t added many graves to Find-a-Grave, but I feel a mission to add links to their parents and siblings if at all possible. I hope this helps some genealogist to overcome the stonewalls.

  19. This was an amazing story!!! Diane, thank you for all your effort. My husband has done the same thing for small cemeteries where is distant relatives are buried and documented burial sites upon request.

  20. This is why I add burial info as and when I confirm it. I know of someone who died in St Petersburg FL, but since I don’t know WHICH cemetery he’s buried in, without buying his death certificate, I can’t add his info. It’s my late husband’s grandfather.

  21. I got the opportunity to find a cemetery that had no road to there was a trail (Lady Linda Lane that got close enough to the Ruiz Family Cemetery) that crossed the dry river bed to two houses and the people showed me the location. I took photos of about 20 graves of people that died in the flood when the St Francis Dam broke in 1928 and killed 431 people.

  22. Thank you for posting this sad but truthful part of these families’ history. It is beautifully written.

  23. And that is why FAG contributors are so appreciated!! Kudos to Diane and her husband.

  24. I have done genealogy now for over 50 years and with each family I have done a chart of all of the indiviuals in that family. In the last two charts that I have done I listed the findagrave memorial number becuase about 80% of the individuals I have found on findagrave.

  25. Agreed – this is a warm story. And I have been the recipient of such an effort by volunteers who give their time and give the gift of finding family when the family historian did not know where to look or travel.
    A big thank you to those volunteers.
    But, please, do not carry the thought over into the immediate newspaper pirating by insensitive or callous persons of death notices before a family genealogist has the opportunity to set a memorial themselves as the grief, paperwork, burial and etc is a first priority. Many families would prefer to set their own without having to request a handover of their own loved one with someone’s else’s name on the record forever. It looks bad on many levels.

  26. For several summers I did research at the Stewart Historical Society into the deaths of local pioneers. I met Diane Gravlee one summer when she stopped by to ask if she could post the entries to Find A Grave. I later did some research on the men who had died at Granduc for the 50th Anniversary of the disaster and was familiar with the name Vilmos Fekete. A couple of years later the manager of the Museum, Shirley Rosichuk, was contacted by Vilmos’ son. That contact led to correspondence between them and his visit. Shirley arranged for the welcoming reception for the son, including a member of the RCMP, a Priest to give a blessing at the grave, the Mayor and several citizens of Stewart. All of this is the result of a stranger passing through Stewart who spotted the little cemetery and took the time to photograph it. Diane Gravlee’s efforts led to a wonderful reunion for his son and she kindly guided me through adding the three lost cemeteries of Stewart to Find A Grave. She is a wonderful person. That is the beauty of Find A Grave and the volunteers who dedicate their time to add to it. I use it regularly. God Bless all of you who have helped me find family graves.

  27. When someone tells you that they found their loved one through a record you created on Find A Grave, it’s such a great feeling knowing you played a part in making this happen. Diane…I hope you got this feeling 10 fold. Great job.

  28. Being an adoptee and knowing nothing for 47 years then finding bio family and being able to find info from my past through Find a Grave has been great. Even adoptive family finds are much appreciated. Even learned of classmates from school that have passed on. Keep up the great work!

  29. I have found many relatives by visiting a gravesite to see who was buried next to them. Find a grave is one of the most valuable sites on the internet in locating missing information. I wonder how we will locate and get information in the future with so many people getting cremated.

  30. Because of Find A Grave I was able to find a picture of my mother’s younger brother’s grave and show her (she is one of 9 children and the youngest). He died in 1918 from the Spanish Flu. Mom was born in 1927 and will turn 94 in December 2021.

  31. This was such an amazing story. Broke my heart,yet I was so very happy for his family to finally have this closure. May he Rest in Paradise

  32. What a wonderful heartwarming story. So glad the family was able to have closure.

  33. Just a quick word to thanks to everyone who has made Find A Grave a vital asset in family history research. Great job.

  34. When I was taking pictures (21,000 of them!), I received responses from many people all over the country who were pleased to finally find the resting place of their beloved ancestors. It is very satisfying to hear from folks who have “found” someone through my work on Findagrave. Unfortunately, Findagrave got techie over something stupid years ago, and took all my memorials and photos away from me and gave them to someone else. They threw me off the site. After awhile, I came back (under another name and email) and have started again, and found that the idiot who was nasty to me finally smartened up…or someone else got smart. The site is much better now.

  35. I have for years put all my known now deceased relatives and friends on this site. This knowing that I will probably the last generation that might visit these sites with any regularity. It is in a way, ,giving them a slight piece of immortality that is due them.

  36. The next time I pass a small overgrown cemetery, I will remember this story.

  37. Because of “Find a Grave” I was able to find my grandfathers grave in Hong Kong, he had passed away there a few years after I was born, he had been a POW in Shanghai previous to his death and the family had no idea that there was actually a gravesite where he had passed away in Hong Kong along with a picture of him on the headstone, what a lovely discovery when I found it

  38. I have contributed many records to Find-A-Grave, but a few months ago did a randon search for a Junior/High School friend. I had not known she had passed, but found her Memorial and left a brief message. Because of this I have been in contact with her brother, and one of her daughters!! Such a thrill. It must have meant so much to the family you referred to – made me shed a few tears.

  39. So sad and and happy at the same time I’m so glad the family had closure I’m thankful for find a grave I have found my good friend after 30 years ❤️

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