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Marching band at Lakewood

Lakewood Stories

Lakewood is rich in history and stories — and some of the most interesting ones come from unexpected places. Here are stories submitted by the friends and families of Lakewood in honor of our 150th.

Thank you to all of you who have shared a story so far! We are so appreciative to hear from you, and we hope you’ll stay in touch.

Click here to share your Lakewood story

Share your favorite Lakewood photos through our submission form at the bottom of the page, or tag us on Instagram at #mylakewoodstory

Mandala made of leaves and grass

Kyia’s story

For most of my adult life I drove or walked by Lakewood not knowing it was a place I could enter. When I finally did pass through the massive gates, I was amazed at the beauty within—and how comfortable and welcomed I felt. Of all the experiences I’ve had at Lakewood since then, probably the most meaningful was participating in a Midsummer Memorial Mandala workshop in 2019—led by an artist who also created a large public installation next to the Chapel. Read more
Flowers placed at a grave

Russ’s story

I lost my mother early in life was raised in part by my grandmother for those critical years after my mother’s passing. I can remember Grandma and I would make weekly trips to Lakewood to care for the flowers planted in the family urn. Grandma told me I was in charge of watering. I grabbed the watering can and carefully calculated my path to the hydrant to avoid stepping on someone’s grave as a child who superstitiously doesn’t step on a crack in the sidewalk. As I walked, I would read the names on the markers and wonder what their lives were like. Read more

Jana’s story

My husband Jon loved Minneapolis. When friends and family would come to visit, he would take them on his “tour” which always included a drive through Lakewood Cemetery. When he passed away from cancer it seemed only logical that he should be forever at Lakewood – a place that he was proud to share with many. When I visit, I find peace at the sundial, and my favorite memory is attending concerts in the chapel.

David’s story

As a young kid in the early 1960s, I remember riding my bicycle up to the main office of Lakewood Cemetery from my parent’s house on Fremont Avenue and 34th Street. I was to make the monthly payment on my parents’ family plot. As I remember it was $5.00. The office doors were massive and the counter was high and imposing to a 12-year-old kid! Their plot was just south of the cannon [at the GAR Memorial], and sometimes I would ride over to look at it and try to imagine its history. I still have an interest in history and ran the streetcars at Lake Harriet for 23 years. My wife and I bought a plot just across the road from my parents several years ago.

Kathleen’s story

About 1944, every year my Dad and I would put flowers from our garden on my brother’s grave. Brad died when he was just 3 years old. My Dad acquired the graves for Brad about 1938. Brad was by himself for years but now there is his Dad, Mom, sister and Grandma with him. My sister decorated the graves for years, but now I have Lakewood decorate on July 4th and Christmas.

Curt’s story

I had a marker placed for my great-grandparents when I recently made a 1,000 mile trip to Lakewood and discovered that they were buried there next to my grandparents. I was unaware of that when I got emergency leave from the Army to visit Lakewood for my grandfather’s funeral in 1966. I am just glad that I could add a tribute to them.

Charlotte’s story

My great aunt is buried by the little cemetery pond at Lakewood. Last summer I went to visit her and saw a huge eagle sitting on a branch over the pond. He was very close to me. He sat there for a very long time. It was awesome! I had never seen an eagle before!

Dale’s story

I hardly knew my mother. She died when I was four years old, and was buried at Lakewood Cemetery. I am now seventy-six years old, and I have been coming to Lakewood Cemetery with my family on Memorial Day ever since. My father died fifty years later than my mother, and he was buried right next to her. I miss them both dearly. My great aunt, who cared for me right after my mother died, and her husband are also buried nearby. Read more

My story

The first place I ever saw a Canada goose was in Lakewood Cemetery. This was in 1970 or so. I used to visit the cemetery through the “back gate” off of Barrie Road. During the same excursions, I would play along the trolley tracks south of 42nd St., before they had been restored.

Amanda’s story

My first year working the Lantern Lighting celebration was this past year during the pandemic, it had been challenging enough planning celebrations and events this year, but to take these treasured traditions and make them still feel special in such a time of uncertainty, posed an extra challenge. Read more

Abby’s story

I love the history that Lakewood holds. Everyday when I am on the grounds, I think about the history of all those that have came here to say goodbye to those they love. It makes me feel connected to older generations of my own family, people that I never met- but that I know walked on the same ground I do.

Mikaela’s story

I learned the alphabet in Lakewood, 23 years ago, and 24 years ago, I learned to read. The first time I drove a car was in Lakewood. In high school, I took my senior photos in Lakewood. My family and I have walked in Lakewood every Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, and most memorial days since I was little. (Photo: Senior photo 2015)

Marion’s story

My husband passed away at a young age, and so as a young wife, I wasn’t really prepared for this event. Not being from MN originally, my husband’s family recommended Lakewood as other members of their family are buried here in the Greek Section. It is without a doubt a beautiful and peaceful resting place.

Stephanie’s story

My great-great grandparents, great-grandmother, grandparents and mother are all buried in a family plot near the southwest corner. Nearby are an aunt and uncle, and great-aunt and uncle. I’ve been visiting the cemetery since I was a child, and particularly like summer visits when you can hear the music from the Lake Harriet Bandshell.

My story

I started coming to walk Lakewood after Covid started last spring. I have enjoyed learning about the history and beauty. I now have a standing Saturday morning walk with a few friends that we will keep going even after Covid. Love all the seasons!

Emily’s story

I grew up on King’s Highway, so Lakewood has been a presence in my life for as long as I can remember. From sledding at Lyndale Farmstead Park as child, to driving around the Chain of Lakes with my friends as a teenager, to a photo shoot at the Lake Harriet Rose Gardens on my wedding day… Lakewood has literally been the visual backdrop of so many happy memories! Read more

Tangy’s story

My sister, Kim, used to bring her kids to Lakewood for their Memorial Day celebration. Years later, when she died from a rare form of breast cancer, the most logical choice was that she should be buried at Lakewood. Her kids could keep their mama’s tradition of celebrating Memorial Day here and they can still do it together.

Patricia’s story

When Jesse R. Bill, my husband’s grandfather, died from the Spanish flu in 1920, his widow Eleanor purchased several plots at Lakewood. Who could have imagined that others would lose loved ones to another pandemic exactly 100 years later! Today Jesse’s and Eleanor’s great-grandchildren and I visit not only Jesse ‘s and Eleanor’s gravesites, but those of their son and wife (Harry and Anne Bill ) and grandson (Gary L. Bill, my husband) a few feet away. It brings comfort to think of them resting together in a place of beauty and peace.

Lori’s story

My parents purchased their plots at Lakewood in the mid 70’s when I was 10 years old. My dad was interested in genealogy and visiting the graves of our ancestors. My parents particularly liked the beauty and history of Lakewood. We would drive around the cemetery noting the many beautiful monuments and historic mausoleums along with the plots of many famous Minnesotans. We loved walking near the lake and seeing all the wildlife that surrounded it. Read more

Chris’s story

One of my favorite stories was when a woman called the Lakewood office about 8 years ago to order flowers for her grandfather’s grave. I told her I would request our greenhouse worker to get it out the same day. There was a bit of a language barrier (I think English was her second language) she asked me to tell him it was from his family. I said our grounds team would be happy to put it out whether...  our team member, whose primary language happened to be Spanish, to tell her grandfather that the flowers we were placing on his grave were from his family. I hope nothing was lost in translation! Read more

Cindy’s story

My Dad owned the Lee M. Bogle Co. which was a monument and marker company at 3529 Hennepin. He sold most of the markers, monuments and mausoleums that are in Lakewood today. He brought me to the cemetery many times as a child. My favorite monument is Elk's Rest. My grandparents and parents are all buried in Lakewood now. His company is gone and replaced with an apartment building.

My story

Every year we visit the graves of my grandparents (both sets), my parents, my uncle, my husband's parents & his grandma. It makes me feel connected to all of them and not alone. It is such a beautiful, peaceful cemetery!

Kellie’s story

My favorite monument is the large elk that overlooks Lakewood’s lake and my favorite memory is going with my parents to see my grandparents and hear the family stories. Many of our family members are buried at Lakewood since back in the 1950’s. My husband and I have both pre-purchased our plots to ensure we are buried there as well. It’s such a beautiful location; and has such beautiful grounds. We have since moved away but still return to visit and place flowers in memory of my parents.

My story

So many memories!! We live in the neighborhood and have enjoyed driving through and taking in this beautiful spot. In college, I did a project taking pictures of the statuary. As I grew older and had kids, we would wander the grounds. Love it here!!

My favorite memorial at Lakewood

The University of Minnesota (Anatomy Bequest Program) marker. My grandpa died in 2019 and donated his body to the U of MN program. He has always been selfless in his sacrifice and love.

John’s story

The first funeral I remember attending was that of my grandmother who is buried next to her husband in Lakewood. She was born in 1887 and buried in 1988. We accurately say in the family that our Norwegian born, socialist grandfather is buried, “to the left of Humphrey.” Since that time, I have buried both my mother and father next to one another in Lakewood and descriptively, “to the right of Humphrey.” My brother and his wife have also purchased... Read more

We celebrate loved ones by…

Our family always comes to Lakewood to visit those we love and miss. We also eat their favorite foods in honor of them and like to go through old photos and home videos.

My favorite Lakewood memory

Walking the grounds with my family on a beautiful spring day.

My story

I drove Jones-Harrison Res. van on Memorial Day week and residents enjoyed seeing the beautiful flowers and little girl grave stones. It was always an annual event driving through Lakewood.

Winnie’s story

My first relative buried at Lakewood was my Grandfather’s 7 year old sister in 1887. I have the original deed for the lot purchased by my Great Grandfather on 4/23/1887 for $40 for a 12 person plot near the entrance. It is signed by C M Loring (treasurer) and R D Cleveland (secretary), early founders of Lakewood. I will be the last to be buried on the lot.

My story

My father passed away in winter, during the covid-19 pandemic, and everything changed about the “usual” way a funeral could go. Although the U.S. Air Force Honor Guard and Funeral Director wore face masks, the graveside flag folding ceremony remained reverent and poignant on Lakewood Cemetery grounds, which remain striking even with bare trees and frigid air. Read more

Kristy’s story

My father used to spend time near the lake when he was young and my grandparents are buried close to Hubert Humphrey. I've also discovered that several of my husband's older family members are buried there or in the mausoleum. I like to put flowers or stones on the markers and keep the grass from covering them. I walk at Lakewood 2-3 times a week, and I have taken quite a few photos there. Photo credit: @2021 Kristy Shubert-North

Susan’s story

Our plot was bought in the early 1900s by my great grandmother, Elizabeth. The graves there are hers, her son’s, my uncle, my grandmother, my mother and my father. So much family history in one place. My favorite memory of Lakewood is when I was a child, our family would walk to Lakewood from our home on Pillsbury Ave. on Memorial Day to put flowers on the graves. I remember it as such a beautiful place. My husband and I,... Read more

Sharon’s story

A few months after my husband was laid to rest, my daughter and I attended the lantern lighting ceremony. At the end of the ceremony, the sky gave some lighting moments back to us. A distant storm was brewing. The ceremony was a very real comfort during our time of mourning. Shortly after my husband died I made a trip to the cemetery at the height of spring. The blossoming trees, the tulip gardens and the lake were stunning. Thank you for such a beautiful place to visit during some difficult days. Celebrating Father’s Day at Lakewood with memory ribbons and beautiful white roses was another especially moving way to remember my loved one.

Margaret’s story

There used to be a little back gate at the southwest corner of Lakewood by the Lake Harriet bandshell. My grandparents lived on Linden Hills Blvd and entered the cemetery through there. My Great Grandmother asked to be buried in that corner so she could hear the band concerts, and she has been listening to them since 1914. Her husband joined her in 1921.

Carol’s story

My husband's grandfather, Peter J. Christopherson, a Norwegian immigrant was a blacksmith and a proud member of the Brotherhood Railway Carmen of America. The family story about him was that he was one of the blacksmiths that built the wrought iron fence around Lakewood. The work was done mostly in the winter. They would build a section at a time and then bring it to Lakewood for installation on a horse drawn wagon/sled. When complete they came back and evened out all of the fence points. My husband's ashes are now buried at Lakewood protected by the fence.

Susan’s story

My sister died at the age of 21, three months after her wedding. It was sudden carbon monoxide on Veteran’s day. Very appropriate as my father was a veteran in WW11. My parents died a year apart, my father on July 4 and my mother July 16. Their deaths were the heartache they had due to my sister’s passing. My parents suffered in WW11. My father survived the battle of Monte Casino and was wounded there. My mother and her... Read more

Beth’s story

I grew up on 35th and Fremont So. From my house you could see HHH monument [Hubert Humphrey]. I learned to drive in Lakewood, it had all the turns, hills and straight seats. Every Sunday we would drive through the cemetery for an afternoon drive, I thought it was the most beautiful cemetery I ever saw and I still do.

Sandra’s story

Many generations of my grandparents’ families are buried at Lakewood–some who immigrated from Germany. The first buried there were my great grandfather (died 1878) and my grandfather’s brother, who passed away at age 2 that same year. The most recent internment was my mother, who passed away in 2011 at age 101. She is buried next to her parents.

Linda’s story

The Leekley Family has owned two lots at Lakewood for 100 years, since 1921. It is our centennial anniversary at Lakewood. Lakewood staff have always been very helpful to the family in arranging all of our memorial and burial services. We look forward to continuing that relationship for generations to come. Thank you, Lakewood, for such a beautiful final resting place.

Glenda’s story

We are from South Dakota. Last year my beautiful husband Bob was at Mayo Clinic in Rochester for cancer treatment - 2 weeks in hospital, 2 weeks out. While visiting us, our dear friend Ginny said "I want to drive you up to Lakewood Cemetery, where there is an incredible chapel in Southern Minneapolis." We drove there for an outing and toured the gorgeous chapel. Bob sat in the pews while we looked around and we even sang an acappella song about living and dying. It was poignant, tear-jerking and therapeutic. A year later we were back for a (fabulous!) medical checkup and once again we drove to the chapel at Lakewood Cemetery. This time we were able to show the place to our 16 year old son and give thanks to God in this beautiful space. We love art and Lakewood is exceptional in the beauty of 10 million mosaic pieces in this historic chapel. We now encourage friends to go there if possible and see it for themselves. It's breath-taking. Thank you, Lakewood.

Pam’s story

My cousin, Nancy, and I have been close friends since childhood, as our grandparents were brother and sister and lived 6 blocks from each other. Though my family left Minneapolis years ago, I was able to visit in the summers. Nancy and I would explore South Minneapolis on foot, visiting 50th and France, Lake Harriet, and we would end our walks in Lakewood. There we would reminisce about grandparents, aunts, and uncles, who were buried there. I still visit in... Read more

Nancy’s story

Memorial Day 1941 was my first visit to Lakewood, I was 3 that summer. Our family went every Memorial Day and Labor Day to check on the urns at both of my families sites after they were planted and to make sure they were properly watered. Both [our family] plots were purchased in the late 20's to early 30's. I don't have a special monument, but what is special for me are memories of asking about the people who are... Read more

Kristine’s story

My great great grandfather, Charles Kraft, was buried at Lakewood Cemetery in 1910. He was a train engineer and died, at the age of 47, as a result of a train wreck in Minnesota Falls, MN. The railroad company paid for the plot and the "Kraft Shaft" that is in the middle of the six graves there. It says FLT on it, standing for Faith, Love and Truth. It is uneven at the top to symbolize a life cut short. His wife, Lena, was buried next to him in 1935 at the age of 72-73. My mom, Theresa, used to ride her bicycle to the gravesites and eat a sandwich there when she was young. Theresa's ashes were buried there in 2018 at the age of 71, and mine will be also be buried there some day. Read more

My story

After Daddy died in 1945, Mother and us four children walked up to his grave at Lakewood every Sunday afternoon. Only Karen, three years old, got to ride in the wagon. We helped Mother pick flowers to add to the wagon, and off our sad little troupe would go, over one block to DuPont Avenue and then down several blocks to the walk-in gate which was open to walkers only on Sunday. Mother gained comfort there and chose the grave... Read more

Christine’s story

Recently while doing some genealogy research, I discovered that a great aunt was buried at Lakewood. When I went to visit her memorial, I found she had been buried next to two of her sisters. But what really surprised me was that nearby I stumbled upon the marker of my great grandparents who I had assumed were buried near their hometown in North Dakota. The sisters must have wanted their parents memorials closer to where they lived at the time.... Read more

Terry’s story

I grew up (early 60’s until 1979 when I joined the USMC) across the street from Lakewood Cemetery on the corner of 37th and DuPont Ave. So. Later I bought my first house (on DuPont Ave. So.) that faced Lakewood Cemetery. My parents sold the house I was raised in, in 1997. I remember the funeral of Hubert Humphrey. I climbed that fence, along with neighborhood friends many times to wander around the cemetery and occasionally being chased out by... Read more

My story

Lakewood was a tremendous comfort at a terrible time for my husband and me. Our newborn son has a beautiful spot here. We are able to visit him and bring our two lovely daughters.

My story

Lakewood is always so beautiful and is such a HAPPY place to visit and visit with my father.


Whatever your interest or connection with Lakewood, we’d love to hear about it! Use the prompts below for inspiration. And don’t forget to share your photos and stories on Facebook and Instagram as well: #lakewood150, #mylakewoodstory

Lakewood Stories

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Thank you for taking time to tell us your story! We’ll be sharing many personal stories online and on site throughout the year. We might edit for length or clarity, and we’ll only use your name if you gave us permission above.
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