Fernley cemetery renamed – Eunice Marcum Memorial Cemetery
FERNLEY — Eunice Marcum was not one to take “no” for an answer.
Telling her a project was not possible was a challenge she attacked with enthusiasm.
Many attribute the establishment of the Fernley and Northern Nevada Veteran’s cemeteries to Marcum’s persistence and indomitable spirit.
With her health failing, she resigned from the cemetery board and moved from Fernley two years ago to be near her daughter and grandchildren in Washington state, where she died Feb. 27, 2002.
Last week, at the request of longtime friend and co-member of the first Fernley Cemetery Board Corinne Gushion, the Fernley Desert Gardens Cemetery they helped create was renamed the Eunice Marcum Memorial Cemetery.
Gushion said she and Eunice used to kid each other that when one of them died, the other would get the cemetery named after them.
“That is why I asked the county to do this for her. She worked her heart out for this cemetery. No one thought we could get it done because it was just a lot of blown sand out there, but when she set her mind to it, she could do anything. We now have a beautiful site. I am very proud of what she accomplished. Even after she left to live with her daughter, she kept track of the burials.”
The Lyon County commissioners unanimously approved the renaming and will arrange for a bronze plaque commemorating Marcum’s achievements to be placed at the gate.
Marcum was born Aug. 15, 1924, to Albert and Joyce (Bevens) McCaleb in Medford, Ore. She attended schools in Medford and retired as a fashion consultant and buyer for retail and department stores.
Marcum arrived in Fernley in 1982. She and Gushion met shortly thereafter when both were appointed by the county to the initial cemetery board. They spent hour upon hour pulling weeds and tending the cemetery until enough money could be raised to hire a caretaker.
“She had just moved to town. Neither one of us intended to become as involved as we did, but she was the ultimate professional woman and when she set her mind to it, she did it. We had a lot of good times. When you work with corpses, you have to have a good sense of humor,” she said of their almost 20 years of working together.
Several years ago, that sense of humor was stretched a bit over a particular burial took that took place under Gushion’s charge.
“She always worried that if she wasn’t there to run things I would bury someone in the wrong place. And I did!” Gushion laughingly reminisced. “She was a bit mad when she found out, but there wasn’t much she could do about it at that point. The deceased, and later her husband, now have their own special little spot in our cemetery.”
When additional funding was needed for the cemetery, county officials knew they would see a stern and adamant Marcum before them, her ever-present cane in hand. Newly elected commissioners, unfamiliar with this gracious but persistent lady, were forewarned she was not afraid to use the cane on those who disagreed with her.
Unable to attend last week’s meeting, Fernley Commissioner LeRoy Goodman sent a prepared statement supporting the renaming of the cemetery.
“Eunice was the driving force to have both the Northern Nevada Veteran’s Cemetery and the Fernley Cemetery established in Fernley. She was a lady of tremendous energy and determination. To honor Eunice Marcum by naming the Fernley Cemetery after her is both fitting and proper.”
Marcum was also involved with the Fernley VFW Ladies Auxiliary, Lions Club, Chamber of Commerce, volunteer fire department and other community organizations.
“There is nothing she wouldn’t or did not do to help where ever she was needed,” Gushion said.
There will be a graveside service in Fernley at her cemetery at 10 a.m. April 13. Following the service, a memorial service will be held at the Fernley Senior Center on West Newlands Drive. Individuals wishing to speak are encouraged to call Faye Bunce at (775) 575-0796 after 3 p.m.