Cemetery tour on Monday

Sally Straathof knows she has some big shoes to fill as tour guide of the Sunnyside Cemetery Memorial Day Heritage Tour.

She is taking the lead on the guided tour this year, filling a role long held by Coupeville historian Roger Sherman.

Sherman will be assisting Straathof, but said he’s decided it is time to pass on duties. He has groomed Straathof to be his successor over the years.

This year’s tour starts at 1 p.m. Monday, May 26. Cost is $5 with proceeds benefiting the Island County Historical Society Museum.

Sunnyside Cemetery is the resting place of many of Whidbey Island’s most influential pioneers.

Straathof, a high school teacher and counselor at Concrete High School, has spent the past five summers as a historical interpreter for Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve.

She’s devoted a lot of time researching Whidbey’s early settlers, particularly the family of Isaac Ebey, who in 1850 took out Donation Land Claim and claimed 640 acres overlooking Admiralty Inlet. He become Whidbey Island’s first permanent white settler.

During past cemetery tours, Straathof has spoken to visitors about the Ebey and Crockett families at their family plots.

“The Ebeys and Crocketts were good friends and lived near each other in Missouri before they ever came out here,” Straathof said.

History is all around Straathof at Sunnyside, including the presence of her mentor. For more than 90 years, Sherman’s family was a part of managing Sunnyside Cemetery.

“He is very supportive of me and what I do,” Straathof said.


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