Students honor vets and Spanaway history in time for Memorial Day

Students from three local congregations helped clean up Spanaway Cemetery in time for Memorial Day weekend.

Students and their families from three of our local LDS congregations (Elk Plain, Graham and Firgrove) helped the Parkland-Spanaway Kiwanis and members of the Spanaway Historical Society clean up Spanaway Cemetery in preparation for Memorial Day.

Students pump water in the cemetery to use for cleaning the headstones.

For Loretta Fulk, seeing members of her church hard at work had a special meaning. Her great grandfather and his brother are the ones who purchased the land for the cemetery back in the early 1900s.

According to Spanaway Historian Boojee Bowman, the Boettner brothers, Christian and Ernst, both had babies who died, which prompted the purchase of the land, as there was not a cemetery in Spanaway at that time.

The Spanaway Cemetery, which is located in between A and B streets on 176th Street East, is the final resting place for both Boettner brothers, however, they aren’t buried near each other due to a rift that divided the cemetery into Catholic and Lutheran sides.

Fulk said only part of the cemetery had been consecrated by a priest, and the land is now divided by a fence — Catholics on the East side, Lutherans on the West.

The fence dividing the Catholic and Lutheran sides of the cemetery can be seen in the background here.

Fulk said seeing all the kids and community working to beautify the cemetery was heartwarming.

“We’re really working with our youth to understand and know what it’s like to serve others. And we want to serve in the community, but this is real personal to me, because this is my family,” she said. “And I’m grateful to Kiwanis who have taken this over and have worked so hard for so many years.”

You can learn more about the history of the Spanaway area in this short documentary.

Helping kids learn is the driving force behind all we do in the Bethel School District.

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