(R.M. of Excel #71) – (1919 to 1953)

This cemetery is located — from Willow Bunch — nine miles north on Highway #36, then two and a quarter miles east on Highway #13.

LAND LOCATION: SE 1/4 of Sec. 4, Tp. 7, Rg. 27, W2nd, in the R.M. of Excel #71.

The land in question was homesteaded by Carl Altwasser, and he received his patent for the quarter section on Oct 04, 1911. By 2008, the greater part of this quarter was owned by Richard and Marjorie Hobbs. All the same, it remains unclear exactly how (purchased or gifted) the site became the property of the Verwood Roman Catholic Parish of NOTRE DAMES-DE-LOURDES. There certainly is some question as to whether or not the parish ever obtained title to the entire present cemetery area!

A true story of the early years, often recounted by old-timers, concerns the burial in this cemetery of an “outsider,” as it were. The poor man (well spoken of) died around 1921/23, and since he was not affiliated with any specific Christian Church, it was decided he would be buried near the Catholic Cemetery, just outside the fence, with little more regard than that of a dog! Well now, this indignation soon raised the ire of other Christians in the area and they insisted the man’s body be buried inside the cemetery, like everyone else. As can be expected, with mounting support in favour of this action, steps had to be taken to remedy the situation. However, instead of disinterring the body to place it honorably inside the fence, it was decided to move the fence over several feet to incorporate the burial site inside the cemetery. Thus the question, “was title ever obtained for the entire cemetery area?” remains unanswered.

Also, it appears the cemetery was not set-up until 1919, though the parish of Notre Dames-de-Lourdes was inaugurated in 1917. In fact the first “registered” burial at this location, that of Luigi “Louis” Mascetti, took place October 27, 1920, and the most recent burial, that of Julia (Wrobleski) Ulbrech, took place October 20, 1953. The cemetery has not been used since.

Since 2002, a list of those buried at this site can be found on two plaques situated on either side of the new metal cross setup in the center of the cemetery. A new gate also was fabricated and installed at the same time as the cross and plaques. Upkeep of the cemetery, however, remains the responsibility of St. Ignace des Saules Parish, Willow Bunch, Sk., but is seldom considered!

The books for the cemetery are now kept by the parish of St. George, Assiniboia, Sk. – Phone #642 4439. They’re also accessible in albums at the Willow Bunch Museum and on the Internet at .

All headstones in the cemetery were checked in person on December 28, 1997, by Gilles A. Bonneau. Afterward, Mr. Bonneau and his brother, Janvier C. Bonneau, painstakingly typed in all the particulars for each entry, with Gilles doing the final editing.

All names have been further checked against the cemetery register, by Rev. Roger Ducharme and Gilles A. Bonneau, for accuracy and to include those people without a headstone.

Those people listed in the Master File with “Yes” by the notation “Site Marker:”, have a headstone/marker and their burial spot was located. All other people have no known headstone/marker and their burial spot was not found.