Huyen (Teresa) Nguyen
Calvary Catholic Cemetery performed its first burial on November 17, 1882. Over the past 130+ years more than 18,000 people have been interred in this religious cemetery. Since opening in 1882, Calvary Cemetery has cultivated a unique history, rooted in the diversity of San Jose.
Calvary Cemetery is home to some rich characters from the “valley of heart’s delight.” Some notable figures from San Jose’s past are buried at Calvary Cemetery:
Tommy Monahan – Mayor Undertaker
Buried August 8, 1936 F 4-21.5
Mayor of San Jose from 1912 to 1914. Was a blacksmith and became Chief Jailer for the Sheriff's department. As a county employee he couldn’t be in politics, so he quit and became an undertaker. As mayor he introduced motorized vehicles to the fire and police departments and improved Alum Rock Park. As an undertaker he became world famous for being the first undertaker to fly a coffin with a deceased body in an airplane from Alum Rock Avenue to Oak Hill Cemetery.
Louis Pellier – Prune King
Buried April 2, 1873.
If Calvary wasn’t a cemetery until 1882, how is this possible?
Buried at Kell/Holy Cross Cemetery. Kell Cemetery was abandoned and the land was needed to make room for building development and Highway 87.
Louis Pellier was the father of the enormous prune industry in California, planting the first French prunes in San Jose in 1856. Because of Pellier, today California produces 99 percent of the nation’s prunes and 70 percent of the world’s prunes.
After eighty years of being lost, the headstone of one of San Jose’s most important citizens has been located and returned to its proper place beside the Calvary Catholic Cemetery.
Frankie Williams – 1st buried at Calvary Cemetery
Buried November 17, 1882, St. Edwards 2-14
The 1st person buried at Calvary when it opened in 1882. Died of diphtheria at age 3 years and 3 months. The little casket was brought by wagon to the cemetery by the dark of night because of the fears generated by the disease.
The following families that have prominent ties to Santa Clara County and represent a cross section of the community past and present, many have streets named after them.
- Spanish: Alviso, Bernal, Berryessa, Cantua, Castro, Chaboya, Higuera and Pacheco. Descendants of the Anza Expedition.
- French: Columbet, Delmas, Pellier, Prevost and Mirrasou. Developed the commercial wine and fruit industry after the gold rush.
- Italians: Battaglia, Canciamilla, Piazza, Sanfillippo, Speciale, Sunseri and Campisi. Mostly Orchardists.
- Irish: McEnry, McLaughlin, Condron, Fellom, Joice, Kelty, Wade, MacAbee and O’Brien.
- Portuguese: Azevedo, Bettencourt, Machado, Medeiros, Silva and Rose. Successful dairy farmers.
- Other notables include the Snells, Auzerais, Montagues, Redmonds, Tullys and Whites.
In addition, sixteen Union Veterans of the Civil War and hundreds of Veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces are also interred in the sacred grounds.
Sections such as Our Lady of Lavang, Juan Diego, and Our Lady of Fatima crypts being important symbols for certain cultures – Vietnamese, Mexican, and Portuguese.
You can read more about the history written by Carol Schultz who was an Office Manager for 20 years at Calvary Cemetery; http://www.nnvesj.org/Y05/Ed27/Edition27S2.htm. You can also Click here to view some of the monuments.
Today, Calvary Cemetery averages about 230 burials per year. The entire cemetery is over 16 acres with some acreage left to be developed. It is estimated that the cemetery will continue to be fully operational for at least the next 20 years.
Our staff has proudly served the local community with exceptional care for years and can help guide your family through end-of-life planning. We have reliable resources to assist you with all aspects-from creating your estate planning documents to a virtual memorial of photos, letters and poems.
Calvary Cemetery currently supports the burial needs of fifty-two Santa Clara County parishes, providing options for traditional ground burial, cremation niche, and mausoleum crypts. We work closely with funeral homes and parishes to assist you with your funeral needs.
For anyone who is interested in pre planning or in need of immediate services, you can be sure your legacy will be preserved and that you can easily have peace of mind. We offer educational tours for students and youth groups.
Calvary Cemetery is here to provide an experience of the Catholic faith during an end-of-life journey that encompasses before and after the death of a loved one. We offer workshops on estate planning, advance directive and catholic perspective with end-of-life choices when pre-planning. We continue to walk with you in making funeral arrangements. We support you in grief with grief support groups throughout parishes in the diocese and hold special events Memorial Day, Day of the Dead, All Souls Day and other times of the year to gather together as a community of faith to remember your loved ones.