Last month I was in Mountain View Cemetery again to check out the grave of Captain William T. Shorey, and noted that he died during the 1918-1920 influenza pandemic, or as it's widely known, the Spanish flu. You may also have seen the name grippe, or la grippe.
The worldwide toll was staggering. It's estimated that between 50 and 100 million people died in the years of the pandemic, or between 3 and 6% of the world's population at the time. In an unusual twist, most of the victims were healthy, young adults, because the virus stimulated an overreaction from their healthy immune systems. It spread rapidly around the world because of advances in transportation and because of World War I, even as far as the Arctic and remote Pacific islands.
Warren Everett Greer (1880-1919). He married Freida Jund, and they had a son, Everett Greer (who is buried nearby in St. Mary's cemetery). Warren was an accountant, and a Woodman of the World. He would have been about 39 when influenza struck, in the prime of life.
A few of the other gravestones that caught my eye are below. Not all are influenza victims, but there's a native of Australia, some symbols that were new to me, and more. DeMolay International (the crest with the DM, crescent moon and star) is connected to the Freemasons, and past members include Walt Disney, John Wayne, Walter Cronkite, John Steinbeck, and Bill Clinton.
lots more pictures:
Read more about the influenza plot at Mountain View Cemetery, and about some of the more famous victims of the flu at Lives of the Dead. Read some newspaper articles from the period at Oakland Genealogy.
Visit Taphophile Tragics for interesting graves from around the world.
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