10th annual Waking the Dead tours on June 28

Tickets for the 10th Annual Waking the Dead tours of Highland Cemetery, 2010 33rd Ave. S. are now available.

Due to COVID-19 and the requirement of social distancing, a limited number of riding tickets for $15 each will be sold.

Walking tickets for $10 will also be sold. They may be purchased at Kaufmans Menswear at 411 Central Ave.

Sponsored by the Paris Gibson Month Celebration Committee in cooperation with the Great Falls Park and Recreation Department, the tours will be held 1-2:30 p.m. and 3-4:30 p.m. June 28.

People will be transported by three trailers and pulled by trucks provided by Hoven Equipment. Hay bales will be provided by Elliot Merja of Sun River. Those who prefer to walk will accompany the trailers.

Graves to be featured and their storytellers are: Paris Gibson, founder of Great Falls, Greg Kinder; Valeria Gibson, wife of Paris Gibson, Kari Woods; O.S. Warden, Publisher, Great Falls Tribune, Chris Warden, grandson; Fra Dana, artist, Liz Cross; George Montgomery, actor, Elliot Merja, nephew; Kenneth McIver, homesteader, Leighton McIver Larsen, great grandson; Gov. Edwin Norris, Dirk Larsen; Charles Russell, cowboy artist and Joe DeYong, Russell Protégé, Bill Bronson; Nancy Russell, Charles Russell’s wife, and Albert, Margaret and Josephine Trigg, neighbors of the Russells, Mary Jane Bradbury; John & Mattie Castner, founders of Belt, Ken Robison; Fred Jones, smokestack worker, Darren Smith; and Corp. Edward G. Haskins, WWI & WWII soldier, Dwight Smith.



Cars will park in the field inside the cemetery gate where the three trailers will be waiting to be loaded.

Because tour seating is limited, tickets need to be purchased in advance and people should arrive at least 15 minutes in advance to keep tours on schedule.  At the conclusion of the tours, participants will receive a free booklet with the featured grave stories provided by Croxford Funeral Home & Crematory.  The storytellers’ remarks will be filmed by Max Murray of Murmax with copies given to the storytellers, Great Falls Public Library and the History Museum, compliments of Montana Granite Industries.  The DVDs will also be available to the public for a small fee.  Each of the featured graves will be marked by a sign donated by Kelly’s Signs.  Trailer hosts will be Kate McCourt, Mary Ann Cosgrove and Norma Ashby Smith.

The date of the tours is scheduled on the Sunday afternoon closest to the birthday of Great Falls Founder Paris Gibson which is July 1.  This year marks his 190th birthday.  Proceeds from this year’s tours will be donated to Highland Cemetery for replacement trees.

For further information contact Norma Ashby Smith, Tours Chairman, 453-7078, ashby7@charter.net.