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News Release
Historic cemeteries commission welcomes new members - 02/02/23

Two commissioners have been appointed to the Oregon Commission on Historic Cemeteries byLisa Sumption, director of Oregon Parks and Recreation Department, which houses the Oregon Historic Cemeteries.

Peggy Drake of Sutherlin was appointed to represent the southern Oregon area. She is a 4th generation resident of Sutherlin, Oregon. Peggy worked in banking and volunteered for several community organizations. She currently serves as secretary on the board of Fair Oaks Cemetery. Her experience working with a small, operating cemetery organization will inform the work of the commission and her community connects will help people access the history cemetery program services. 

Johnny Edwards of McMinnville was appointed to represent the Willamette Valley. He is an active member within the fraternity of Freemasons and has duties related to the archives and history of that organization in Oregon. In 2017, he was assigned the to be sexton and caretaker of the McMinnville and Lafayette Masonic Cemeteries and he has cared for the cemetery and organized its records. He is now part of a larger committee to support the care of Masonic cemeteries throughout the state. His cemetery, research and record management experience will bring useful resources to the commission and his connection to cemeteries throughout the state with provide direction and outreach for the commission’s work.

State law established the seven-member Commission to maintain a listing of all historic cemeteries and gravesites in Oregon; promote public education on the significance of historic cemeteries; and help obtain financial and technical assistance for restoring, improving, and maintaining their appearances. Grants are available now for the Oregon Historic Cemeteries Grant. 

“We are grateful to have such enthusiastic and skilled people join the commission,” notes Kuri Gill, commission coordinator. “They will be a benefit to our historic cemeteries.” The new commissioners join: Milo Reed, chair, from Portland; Sarah Silbernagel, vice-chair, from Pendleton; Lisa Sears, from Cloverdale; and Shawn Steinmetz, from la Grande. 

For more information about commission activities visit www.oregonheritage.org, contact coordinator Kuri Gill at 503-986-0685, or by e-mail at kuri.gill@oprd.oregon.gov

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