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'Waking The Dead' is returning to Great Falls cemetery

"Waking The Dead" at Highland Cemetery (2019 photo)
"Waking The Dead" at Highland Cemetery
"Waking The Dead" at Highland Cemetery (2019 photo)
Posted at 1:21 PM, Jun 03, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-06 11:49:43-04

GREAT FALLS — The City of Great Falls said in a news release that the 12th annual "Waking The Dead" tours will be held on Sunday, June 26th. The tours will be at 1:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. at Highland Cemetery.

Sponsored by the Paris Gibson Month Celebration Committee, twelve graves will be visited as storytellers present the stories of those buried there.

The graves and their storytellers are: Paris & Valeria Gibson, Great Falls founder and his wife, Bruce Cusker; Vinegar Jones, Great Falls first builder and contractor, Ken Robison; Ed Shields, Great Northern Railroad conductor who brought the story of the dog Shep to world-wide fame, Bill Zins, great nephew; Ralph Jones, fell off the stack and died, Darren Smith; Capt. John E. Moran, recipient of Montana National Guard Medal of Honor, Dwight D. Smith, Lt. Col., USAF, Ret.; Robert Vaughn, early Sun River Valley homesteader, Cory Larsen; Kenneth McIver, dairyman, Dirk Larsen; Edwin Norris, Montana Governor: Dirk Larsen; Josephine Trigg, Children’s Librarian, Great Falls Public Library, Paula Egan-Wright; Charlie Russell, western artist, Bill Bronson: William T. Haney, early Great Falls businessman, Austin Haney, great grandson.

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 must be bought in advance. People should arrive 15 minutes early to keep tours on schedule. At the conclusion of the tours, participants will receive a free booklet with photos and the featured grave stories provided by Croxford Funeral Home & Crematory.

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 192nd birthday.

Tour tickets are $15 to ride and $10 to walk, and are available at Kaufmans Menswear (411 Central Avenue). For more information, contact Norma Ashby Smith at 406-590-6798,


Video from last year's event: