The purpose of the Home of Peace Cemetery Association is to function as a Jewish burial society for the Jewish community of Pierce County to honor our dead in accordance with Jewish religious practices, traditions, and beliefs. Judaism considers mitzvot performed in relationship to caring for the deceased to be of the purest intention, since we cannot be repaid for these acts of Yizkor. Remembering our dead by doing benevolent acts is life affirming and restores our loved ones to us. By performing these acts in their memory, we are connected to them, and to all those who have gone on before us. Any person interested in furthering the purpose of the Home of Peace Cemetery is eligible to make an application for membership.
The Jewish community in the Tacoma area began with a few families in Steilacoom and Olympia in the 1860s. By the 1870s, several families were established in Tacoma, which grew rapidly. The cemetery began in 1889 as the First Hebrew Benevolent Society, and was incorporated in February of 1891.
The oldest gravestone in the Home of Peace Cemetery, from 1886, was moved from Olympia after the cemetery was formed in 1889. Many tombstones are datable from the 19th century. Of the over 700 graves, over one-tenth were unmarked until the congregation of Temple Beth El purchased tombstones for the unmarked graves in 2000.
Chevra Kadisha Cemetery (also called Block 41) is a small cemetery within Home of Peace Cemetery. It was created July 29, 1914 by a more Orthodox portion of the community. The land was 109x104 feet and located just southeast of the Home of Peace Cemetery, with a 30-foot strip of land separating the two. The purchase was "upon the conditions that the purchasers who were buying said premises would use the same for burial purposes." There are at least 26 graves there, including burials from 1922 until 1978. In 1979, the Home of Peace Cemetery Association took over the assets of the Chevra Kadisha and assumed responsibility for it.
The cemetery is located at 5421 Steilacoom Boulevard SW in Lakewood, at the corner of Lakewood Boulevard and Steilacoom Boulevard. The cemetery association owns eight acres, but only about two acres are currently in use. Originally, sections were set aside for infants and single deaths, but those lines have blurred through the years.
Inquiries regarding burials and costs should be sent to
P.O. Box 65522
University Place, WA 98464
Or you may contact one of the following individuals:
Michael Doctor (253) 460-4965
Lenny Reisberg (253) 756-9752
Deb Freedman (253) 509-0745
Or visit: www.homeofpeacecemetery.org
The local funeral home most frequently used by Jewish families is Gaffney, Cassedy, Allen & Buckley King. They are located on Yakima at Tenth, Tacoma, WA, 98405. (800) 215-2166.