It was 1955 when Forrest “Babe” Kreisher came to Elk River. That was the year Carl Jockheck, Eugene Friend, Frank Currier and Tom Lower began to clean up the brush pile area that was used for a cemetery, the Three Pines Cemetery. The ground was donated to Elk River by Potltach Corporation in 1912, but not much work was done to establish a cemetery in that location prior to 1955.
Eugene Friend and Leonard Foster got the ground into a tax entity for funds to maintain the cemetery in 1958 by a vote from the Clearwater County Commissioners. This made it possible for an elected board to have access to property taxes and required them to follow state law. Bert Monroe was the first maintenance man and Shirley Monroe was the first secretary. Della Kreisher, Forrest’s wife, took over the secretary position when Monroe left.
Many upgrades were done. The entire area was fenced, gravesites were mapped and marked, a gate that was made in Texas and brought to Elk River and assembled and painted by Deary Auto to preserve it, was installed. A well was also dug but was too costly to utilize. A pumphouse was built with a pump to get water to the cemetery from town, a sprinkler system was installed, an office building built, along with a storage shed, and signs and a banner directing the way to the cemetery were placed.
There is a main cemetery, along with a Catholic cemetery that was created in 1912 and abandoned after 1921, with all burials being in the Three Pines Cemetery or the Oddfellows Lodge area. After 1955 the Catholic Cemetery was cleaned up again but there would be no new burials in those plots.
There is also a pet cemetery at the location. This was established by Della Kreisher and Sally Pelton. The corner of the cemetery where this is located was donated to the cemetery district from the forest service. Later, the forest service donated an additional 30 acres around the cemetery. Forrest was instrumental in getting all of these accomplishments achieved.
He became the chairman of the board in 1968 when Jockhecks left, and has been in that position since. Della left the secretary position in 2020, after serving for over 55 years, with Shelley McLam now holding that position. Present maintenance man is Troy Inman.
According to Forrest, “Troy does a beautiful job maintaining the cemetery, and Shelley has the office well under control. We hope both continue to keep our cemetery beautiful.”
The Elk River Cemetery District Board’s Facebook post reads, “We would like to thank Forrest ‘Babe’ Kreisher for serving as the Board Chairman for the past 69 years. Mr. Kreisher has volunteered most of his life keeping the Three Pines Cemetery in Elk River, Idaho beautiful for the community.”
A quote about volunteering states, “The heart of a volunteer is never measured in size, but by the depth of the commitment to make a difference in the lives of others.” Forrest, a lifelong resident of Elk River, is the perfect example of a volunteer making a difference in the lives of others.
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