Cemeteries . A Walk Into The Past. My Visit To Transfiguration Cemetery.

Cemeteries . A Walk Into The Past. My Visit To Transfiguration Cemetery.

Transfiguration Cemetery    (25 of 25)
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Here in the Northern Hemisphere we are approaching the end of the growing season as well as calendar year. It has long been a time for reflection. Halloween, or All Hallow Eve, has ancient origins and now begins the Christian traditions of honoring the dead. The Catholic tradition includes All Saint’s Day and All Soul’s Day where the departed members of our families and communities are remembered and honored.  Transfiguration Cemetery    (22 of 25)

I have always enjoyed visiting cemeteries on my travels ,  you learn so much about a community in these hallowed grounds. A few years ago I decided to visit all the graves in my parish cemetery, Transfiguration Cemetery. Most of my dad’s relatives are buried here and I have been visiting my grandparent’s graves since I was a young child. (The family plot was full so my dad is buried near my home in Mountain View cemetery)Transfiguration Cemetery headstones (16 of 55)

Transfiguration Parish was founded by poor coal  miners who immigrated from Poland at the beginning of the last century. The  cemetery was established shortly thereafter. The earliest grave I found  was of a young child born and buried in 1911. This child lived and died for a short time in 1912.  I wonder how the loss of the child affected the parents and other family members. I imagine the sadness and grief in that isolated area on the outskirts of the town of West Hazleton on the day she was buried. And someone still places flowers on the grave over a century later. So much to reflect on  in these somber grounds. Transfiguration Cemetery headstones (1 of 55)

As I walked back and forth past the lines of headstones I came across so many individuals, who affected my life in some way and made me the person I am today. Some I knew and loved  so well,like my aunt Mary. Transfiguration Cemetery headstones (17 of 55)

Other’s I only heard about, but their live’s still affected me in so many ways. This is the Dowgala headstone, a husband and wife who had no children and ran a store in the house I grew up in before it was purchased by my parents. I never knew them but enjoyed the apple and pear trees and the beautiful flower gardens they left as their legacy. I spent a long way thinking about them, how they met, lived their lives and died the first time I came upon their grave a few year ago. Of course I thanked them for the pear trees, the apples trees are now gone, which still provides us with abundant crops of pears each year. Transfiguration Cemetery headstones (50 of 55)

And I found poor Mr. Duffy. who was younger than me when he died, living back a young son. the catcher on my Litttle League team. It seems like yesterday we all stood for a prayer when he came to the game after the death of his dad. it was so sad and was my first real experience with death. Transfiguration Cemetery headstones (18 of 55)

I often heard of the tragic fire killing an entire family years before I was born. It didn’t mean as much to me until  the first time I saw this headstone. Transfiguration Cemetery headstones (7 of 55)

Here is my 9th grade algebra teacher, It seems like yesterday i was staring out the window in his class, it was the last of the day, waiting for the bell to ring so I could roam in the woods before dark. Transfiguration Cemetery headstones (39 of 55)

And even more pleasant memories, here is Gertrude Sypeck, the owner of a corner store a few blocks from my parents house. I first visited it when my neighbor took me there and bought me some candy peeps at Easter when I was around four years old. She ran the store until her death at the ripe old age of 95 years a few years ago. What a kind and friendly soul.Transfiguration Cemetery headstones (48 of 55)

I could go on for hours on my reflections walking through this cemetery where so many good folks now are at rest. Here is a link to some more photographs of the headstones of the folks, who died, young and old,  many of whom touched my life in some way. https://keepyoureyespeeled.net/photographs-5/nggallery/blog-photos/transfiguration-cemetery-headstones-october-31-2015Transfiguration Cemetery headstones (24 of 55)

As in all cemeteries the inscriptions and markings on the headstones tell so much about the folks in the community, their lives, loves, ambitions and faith.  How about this engraving of the Notre Dame mascot in a Polish cemetery? Transfiguration Cemetery engravings and markers (1 of 23)

Or this biker enthusiast.

Transfiguration Cemetery engravings and markers (8 of 23)

Of course most of the engravings were of a religious nature, although not elaborate as in other cemeteries. Here is a link to some more of the engravings and marking I came across on my walk today. https://keepyoureyespeeled.net/photographs-5/nggallery/blog-photos/transfiguration-cemetery-engravings-and-markings-october-31-2015Transfiguration Cemetery engravings and markers (19 of 23)

And there were, on the older graves, also some photographs of the departed.  How can you not reflect on the lives of these folks after seeing their pictures, some taken in their youth and others in their old age. Here is a link to some more photographs of the images I found on some of the headstones. https://keepyoureyespeeled.net/photographs-5/nggallery/blog-photos/transfiguration-cemetery-photographs-october-31-2015Transfiguration Cemetery photographs (6 of 14)

It was a most reflective, and rewarding day. examining and recalling my life from  the many folks who were once part of it and who are now at rest.  All of us will join them someday. I would recommend all of you visit your local cemeteries and visit, and honor and respect, the lives of the family, friends and loved ones who helped make you who you are today. It leaves you with a very good feeling when you do. Here is a link to some more photographs of Transfiguration Cemetery. https://keepyoureyespeeled.net/photographs-5/nggallery/blog-photos/transfiguration-cemetery-october-31-2015Transfiguration Cemetery (8 of 25)


No one’s death comes to pass without making some impression, and those close to the deceased inherit part of the liberated soul and become richer in their humanness.
-Hermann Broch
The day which we fear as our last is but the birthday of eternity.
-Lucius Annaeus Senec


  1. doris slabinski on November 1, 2015 at 10:41 am

    my family Chrobak – white-zboray -lonczinski-are all buried in transfigartion cemetery and my name is on our tombstone awaiting me, didn;t see us in your pictures but i am sure you have seen us – next to front gate, scared heart of Jesus statue. thanks for the daily memories- i grew up on winters ave

    • fskokoski@gmail.com on November 2, 2015 at 6:20 am

      John Lonczinski is my neighbor and I went to high school with Joy Zboray. I did see the Lonzczinski graves but I know Joy’s dad is buried near my dad in Mountain view.I love sharing my adventures and thanks you for the comments.

  2. Betty on November 1, 2015 at 4:05 pm

    Thanks Frank for the wonderful thoughts,rememberances & comments about my mother & her store.

    • fskokoski@gmail.com on November 2, 2015 at 6:13 am

      Your welcome Betty. She was such a pleasant woman. never minded us sitting on the bench and having a Dr. Pepper on the way home from school.

  3. Jean McGeehan on November 4, 2015 at 3:55 pm

    The tombstone that has the picture of the boxer is my father he died on Christmas day in 1944. His name was Chester “Cooney” Labinsky. This is truly an honor to him and I am so happy that you did this.

    • fskokoski@gmail.com on April 3, 2016 at 5:40 pm

      So sorry I missed this Jean. It was a beautiful tombstone. Thanks yo so much for the kind words. I am so glad you approved.

  4. Janet Sabol Mickler on March 29, 2016 at 1:05 pm

    Frank, thank you so much for this walk through “my” past. I have visited my brother here more times than I can remember. I’m not sure if you noticed his tiny grave in the back row on the left side where the infants are buried. I’ve always felt that he was my guardian angel until our dad scooped him into his loving arms and took over that role. The Transfiguration Cemetery is a very special place for those of us who know and love many interred there.

    • fskokoski@gmail.com on April 3, 2016 at 5:17 pm

      Hi Janet I didn’t notice but I will next time I visit. I agree such a peaceful place with so many memories.