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Jim and Kellie Lewis

"Here Lies Two Friends"

by Jim and Kellie Lewis

Jim and I enjoy walking in Grandview Cemetery, learning about families we’ve met since buying our home in Gary almost three years ago. Last fall we came across a particularly interesting headstone, that of two young girls who died on June 18, 1919 and were buried in the same grave. Their headstone reflects “Here Lies Two Friends”. We finally solved the mystery by reading their obituary in The Gary Inter State, on microfilm at the Gary Library. Apparently the two were wading in Cobb Creek, about five miles southwest of Gary, and drowned. Both girls were 15 at the time. The obituary is very sad, as one can imagine, but is also fascinating in the wording as transcribed below.

Note from Kellie: The two extra people mentioned are Lillie Thompson's mother's siblings, not Lillie's. Her brother is "Ray L."

Obituary (from The Gary Inter State, June 27, 1919)

“Velma Iona Crocker, who was born in Louisa County, Iowa, June 30, 1903, lost her young life with her friend, Lillie Thompson, while they were wading in Cobb Creek five miles southwest of Gary, near their home.

Velma came to South Dakota in 1906 with her parents, who have resided in different parts of the state until seven years ago, since which time they have lived near Gary where Velma was just growing into young womanhood when she met her untimely death on Wednesday evening, June 18, her age being 15 years, 11 months and 12 days.

She leaves to mourn her death a kind and loving mother and father, six sisters and four brothers, who are: Mrs. Albert Sleper of near Moritz; George of near Altamont; Ivan, Wayne, Marie, Ruth, Sylvia, Samuel, Hazel and Geneva, all of whom are at home.

Miss Lillie Thompson was born in Merrill, Iowa, September 10, 1904. She came to Deuel County with her parents in 1911, and has since resided on a farm south west of Gary. Mary was a bright, winsome young lady, and just budding into young womanhood and her tragic death which seems to be so untimely is almost too much to bear.

She leaves to mourn her departure a loving mother and father, nine sisters and one brother: Mrs. Ernest Atwood of Merrill, Iowa; Mrs. Nick Holton of LeMars, Iowa; Mrs. Elijah Crane of Ida Grove, Iowa; Mrs. James McLain of Gary; Ray L., Mrs. Otto Berntson, Elizabeth, Ethel, Ruth and Rachel, all of Gary. Mrs. Thompson’s brother, James Warren of Beresford, and also her sister, Mrs. James McDougal of Strubel, Iowa, were here but came too late to attend the funeral.

Velma and Lillie were fast friends during their short lives, and dying together it seemed eminently proper that in death they should not be separated. Their bodies were buried in one grave last Friday afternoon. The funeral services were held at the Presbyterian church of this city. Rev. Hoare, pastor, delivering an impressive and appropriate sermon filled with comforting words to the sorrowing relatives. An immense concourse attended the last sad rites, attesting by their presence the love and esteem in which these estimable young ladies were held. The floral decorations spoke mutely of love of friends. The silent clasping of hands spoke mutely of the sincere sympathy extended to the bereaved relatives. The remains were laid to rest in Grand View cemetery to await resurrection morn, when there will be no more parting forever.”