Tuesday, January 3, 2012

taphophile tragics #2 - Frank Ogawa

The other day I stopped by Mountain View Cemetery again, but not for a tour. This time was to explore one of the large mausoleums at Mountain View Cemetery, because I have relatives interred there. I got a description of the location of my paternal grandparents' vault and my uncle's vault within the structure from my parents, and set off exploring. While looking for them, I found the vault for the Ogawa family. Frank H. Ogawa is well-known in Oakland, if nothing else because the plaza in front of city hall is named for him.

Frank Ogawa was a Nisei (2nd generation Japanese, born in Lodi, CA), but like many Japanese Americans during WWII he and his wife Grace were forced to sell their possessions and were imprisoned in an internment camp. Their daughter, Nancy, was born in the Topaz War Relocation Center in 1942 and died at age 2 in 1945. But the mistreatment didn't turn Frank against the U.S. After release, Frank returned to Oakland and became active in the community and civil rights. Originally a nurseryman, he served on the city council for almost 30 years, and held various other public offices.

While exploring the mausoleum, I noted a fair number of vaults with flowers, but quite a few decorated for the holidays with poinsettias, wreaths or even small trees. Having recently been on the symbols tour, I also took note of various symbols that were used. While not as common as on older graves, there were a fair number used on vaults in the mausoleum. Many were related to Freemasonry, but there were other symbols used, too: crosses, a painter's palette, American Federation of Musicians, United States Marine Corps, Professional Engineer, and even a Santa Clara County fire captains badge. Certainly more literal than the symbols used on older graves, but nice to see the use of symbols hasn't completely disappeared.

More pictures from the mausoleum at Mountain View:

More Taphophile Tragics from around the world.

1 comment:

diane b said...

I like the grave decorated with the drawing from a grandchild. merry Christmas Grandpa...so touching.