Woodvale Then and Now
Woodvale Cemetery began as one half acre of farm land, donated by Fred G. Klink (1835-1858) in the 1850’s. Mr. Klink died in 1858, at the age of 22, and was buried in that small section of his property. It is the oldest marked grave at Woodvale Cemetery. The early graves are in the higher sections of the cemetery, marked Sections A and B, along Engle Road. In 1876, Frank M. Stearns (1832-1911) suggested that the unnamed cemetery be called Woodvale, after the wooded vale beside it.
Fred Beavis, Local Caretaker
Records were penned by hand in large, fragile, paper ledgers, which were the only records kept during those early years. In 1908, a fire destroyed the caretaker’s house and many of the records. Recovery of that early data was quite a chore and involved many hours of research. Some of the old monuments hold the only records for burials in the graves. Today the records are computerized. Visitors may stop in the office to gather information about loved ones who are buried at Woodvale Cemetery.
Veterans at Woodvale Cemetery
There are over a thousand veterans of every United States conflict buried at Woodvale Cemetery: including the Civil War, Spanish American War, World War I, World War II, Korean War and the Vietnam conflict. We record all veteran burials so that we can include them in the annual Memorial Day celebration. Thanks to the Albert E. Baesel American Legion Post 91 of Berea, every veteran’s grave holds an American flag on that holiday. The Legion conducts an honorable ceremony and also places a special wreath on the grave of the first Ohioan to receive the World War I Medal of Honor, Lt. Alfred E. Baesel (1890-1922.)
Former Mayors & Other Historical Figures
Former Mayors of Berea rest here: Cpt. Edward J. Kennedy (1841-1924), Thomas J. Poole (1838-1925), and George Goette (1879-1941). Captain Kennedy was also an industrial, social and political leader of Berea and Cuyahoga County and a veteran who survived being detained at the notorious Andersonville Prison in Georgia.
Former Mayor of Middleburg Heights, Fred Rudolph (1893-1963) also rests here. The grave of one of the founders of Baldwin Wallace College is here: John Baldwin (1799-1884.) The editors of the local newspapers are buried here: Elijah Peebles (1835-1908) of the Grindstone City Advertiser and Robert W. Pillars (?-1909) of the Berea Enterprise. Dorothy McKelvey, (1903-1993) founder of the Berea Historical Society, is also interred at Woodvale Cemetery.
Many of the old monuments have symbolic figures used. There is a tall, tree-shaped monument with all the limbs cut off, symbolic of a life cut short. There are fallen doves, little lambs, pillow-shaped tablets, crosses, towering obelisks, arches, angels and many more interesting figures. There is also a replica of a log cabin, made of a solid block of sandstone, used as the Kirk family monument, in Section 3. Benches have been used as monuments, with the names engraved on the back portion.