St. Joseph Cemetery & Funeral Center FD129

History

This 50-acre cemetery is situated on rolling farmland surrounding a historic church building and mausoleum. The original St Joseph Church was completed in 1892, costing $1,650. Built by about 30 volunteers and Jesuit missionaries under the supervision of Father Held, the church served the needs of the parish until 1928, when a fire left by a careless camper burned it down.

The current church building was erected in 1929, with a finished cost of $16,500. The church’s first Requiem Mass was for James McLaughlin, who is interred at St Joseph’s Cemetery. James donated the one-acre plot of land where the church was built; he is buried very close to the southeast corner of the church.

Perhaps the biggest contribution to the property stems from Henry Arbes and his family, who have a long and distinguished history of supporting St Joseph. Not only did the family help build the original church in 1891, but Henry also helped build the new church 30 years later. Henry’s work did not stop with the church structures. In the 1950s, he began erecting a shrine located on the hills behind the cemetery grounds. To further support the cause, Henry’s cousin, Mrs. Ida Blessing Donahue, made donations and organized parties and bazaars to get funding for the shrine. In May 1956, the shrine was dedicated in a ceremony officiated by the Rev Ronald Schenk. Henry continued his devotion to building the shrine until his death in September 1961.

In those 11 years, Henry created the pathway, the altars, the stone cross and the 14 Stations of the Cross. Inspired by faith, he began working, letting the shape of the rock guide his hands. Henry’s passion and dedication created what we see today—a unique St Joseph Cemetery that has become a Spokane Valley Landmark.

In 1992, St Joseph Cemetery became part of Catholic Cemeteries of Spokane. The agreement was reached on August 1 of that same year through the efforts of Father Richard Hemenway and the St Joseph Parish Council.

This historic change came at a fortunate time for St Joseph’s Parish. The church had long since become too small, forcing Parishioners to stand in the aisles and outside the front door on many Sundays.

Catholic Cemeteries of Spokane’s payment was enough to cover the major portion of the new church’s construction costs. The existing cemetery endowment was passed on to Catholic Cemeteries of Spokane, creating a win-win agreement for all parties. This partnership ushered in a new period for the cemetery, with advanced planning and endowment care entrusted to Catholic Cemeteries of Spokane.

Services & Features

To enhance our ministry, a Catholic Funeral Home was added in September 2013. Now, families can complete all immediate or advanced planning funeral and burial services in a single visit with CFCS (Catholic Funeral & Cemetery Services). For more information about our funeral and cemetery services, please contact us at (509) 467-5496.