Remembering Those Who Would Otherwise Be Forgotten

Remembering Those Who Would Otherwise Be Forgotten


December 16, 2018


On Friday, a very special event, which has become a wonderful holiday tradition, took place once again at Forest Lawn.

The graves of nearly 300 people, who would have otherwise been forgotten, were decorated with a holiday wreath by a very dedicated group of individuals from People Inc. who are committed to ensuring that these souls are not forgotten.

People, Inc. is a not-for-profit health and human services agency, providing programs and services to more than 10,000 people with special needs and their families across Western New York.
The focus of this wonderful group of volunteers from People, Inc. is on section DD of Forest Lawn – specifically, the graves of 296 people who died between 1870 and 1970 when they were residents from the former:

  • Church Charity Foundation, which provided homes for the aged and destitute.
  • Buffalo Orphan Asylum, which provided relief to orphans and other destitute children.
  • The Home of the Friendless, which provided permanent shelter for young girls and woman; now the Bristol Home.

The deceased include the young and the old, like Alice Munich, who died in 1883 at about age 11 and centenarian Sibyl C. Bixby, who lived from 1828 to 1928. Not much is known about Alice, Sibyl or any of the other people who now rest in this section of Forest Lawn, beyond their names, their birth and death dates.

The effort to remember them is the work of approximately 30 young adults from People Inc.’s Day Program, which enables individuals with disabilities to learn new skills and gain confidence through meaningful activities, so they can pursue personal goals and reach their highest level of independence in the community.

The young adults from this program came to Forest Lawn in the fall of 2012, and began by beautifying the lots in Section DD – edging the graves, sweeping off the markers on the graves and raking the leaves. Then, using research information provided by Forest Lawn, they prepared tags to attach to the wreaths being placed on the graves for the holiday season. The tags read: “In Memory of From Your Friends at People, Inc.” They attached the wreaths to stands and placed the wreaths on the graves in December 2012. They have returned to do so again every year since then, as they did last Friday.

And at Forest Lawn, we are very appreciative of their efforts!

As we see these young people placing the wreaths on the graves, we wonder how different their lives would have been if they had been born 150 years ago, when American society generally wrote off people with disabilities. The outstanding work of the team at People, Inc. helps to ensure that today these young people can reach their full potential.

Forest Lawn is extremely proud to support this effort and very appreciative of the support we receive from individuals who contribute to through the purchase of a wreath, which is ultimately placed on one of the graves.