Grave Matters 2017 marks the second time The Friends of Historic Forest Grove has brought local history to life by using actors to share the events that comprised the lives of some of the city’s fascinating former residents at the sites where they are buried. Ten actors and actresses gathered at Forest View Cemetery on Saturday, October 7. The actors worked independently, standing alongside the gravestones of their respective characters, reprising their roles nine times in succession as Time Traveler Guides ushered audiences of up to eighteen spectators around the grounds of the cemetery.
Once again, the event was co-chaired by Cherie Savoie Tintary and Mary Jo Morelli. This year’s tour saw the addition of William Gilbert as the director.
The tour began with Harley S. McDonald, a notable architect, who eventually settled in Forest Grove after sojourns in California during the Gold Rush and in Portland, where he designed and built several architectural “firsts.” Ron Hansen’s animated portrayal of McDonald from a script by Mary Jo Morelli and Fletch Grylls included stories of escaping death after capture by natives in the gold fields and from pursuit by a grizzly.
The tour ended with its single dual depiction as actresses Chloe Lockett and Liza Schade variously portrayed first the teenage, then the adult versions of Nellie Winfield Owens Kirry of Little House on the Prairie fame with a script by Ginny Mapes.
The tour included seven other notable residents: attorney Manche Langley as played by actress Linda Taylor with a script by Cindy Dauer; banker John Elkin Bailey as played by actor Tom Cook with a script by Skip Buhler; Eliza Marsh wife of Sidney Harper Marsh played by Maureen Andronis Hicks with a script by Rebecca Vetkos; boarding house proprietress Carrie Crosley Minckley as played by actress Amy Tracewell (who had two descendant’s, grandchildren, of Carrie’s attend the tour) with a script by Cherie Savoie Tintary; Indian Training School student Martha Lot as played by actress Sierra Deragon with a script by Mary Jo Morelli, with research assistance by Eva Guggemos, Pacific University Archivist; Business women Dorothy Higby Seymour as played by actress Kathleen Leatham with a script by Diane Morris (with over a dozen descendants watching that drove in from Seattle, Salem, and Portland to see the monologue); and photographer Harry A. Crosley as played by actor Alan Archer standing at his business partner Charles Fritz grave with a script by Lee Tintary.
The parking lot was bravely manned by Fletch Grylls. David Morelli provided logistical support, while numerous members of Friends of Historic Forest Grove greeted spectators at a reception table and guided tours, including Marcus Hazlett who set the pace with the opening tour of the day in a reprisal of his role of A. T. Smith from two years ago.
About Lee Tintary
Lee has been involved in various capacities with FHFG including portraying Harvey Clarke in the 2015 Cemetery tour and writing a script for the 2017 tour. He is an English teacher at Banks High School and a climber with the Mazamas.