In conjunction with the release of Lighthouse Digest’s new book, Tillamook Rock Lighthouse, around 50 family, friends, and Coast Guard participants met together at Greenwood Hills Cemetery in Portland, Oregon on July 22nd to hold a grave marker ceremony to honor the service of lighthouse keepers Orlo E. Hayward and his father Eugene O. Hayward.
Orlo E. Hayward was only 17 years old when he started as 4th assistant keeper at Tillamook Rock Lighthouse in 1920. He had lied about his age as he had to be at least 18 to enter the United States Lighthouse Service, but he didn’t want to be separated from his friends who were serving at Tillamook Rock at the same time. Over the next 25 years, Orlo went on to serve at New Dungeness, Cape Flattery, Coquille River, Slip Point, Patos Island, Cape Blanco, Point No Point, and Lime Kiln lighthouses, finally retiring in 1944 as a Boatswain’s Mate, first class in the Coast Guard. He was head keeper for more than half of his career.
Eugene O. Hayward first joined the United States Lighthouse Service at Heceta Head Light in 1920 when he was 47 years-old. In 1921, he transferred to Yaquina Head Lighthouse where he stayed until 1926. He then went to Cape Blanco Light until at least 1930. His last assignment was at the Tongue Point Depot in Astoria, Oregon until his retirement. It was very appropriate that his grave marker could be placed by current coastguardsmen from the same ANT location at Tongue Point today, almost 90 years later.
The ceremony began with the honor guard from the USCGC Bluebell (WLI-313) posting colors. Captain Thomas A. Griffitts, commanding officer of the U.S.C.G. Marine Safety Unit in Portland gave the first remarks detailing the work that the Coast Guard does in this sector.
Captain Griffitts noted that personnel assigned to the unit perform the same vital work that both Orlo and Eugene Hayward did almost 100 years ago and that the mission is indeed timeless and integral to the safety of our maritime transportation system.
Remarks were next given by master of ceremonies Debra Baldwin of Lighthouse Digest who gave some background on the grave marker program and recounted how she first came in contact with the Hayward family almost three years ago in doing research on Tillamook Rock Lighthouse.
Orlo Hayward’s children, Joe, Phyllis, and Jean who were all present at the ceremony then gave biographical remarks on Orlo and his father Eugene followed by the reading of a poem written by Eugene’s mother, Martha Callahan Hayward. Daughter Jean recalled many family stories of the three “lighthouse kids” growing up in various lighthouses where Orlo was stationed in the 1930s and 40s. The poem entitled “The Voices of the Sea,” compared life with the everchanging tides and how God’s voice is heard “in the pounding sea, proclaiming His power and glory in wonderful majesty.”
Following all the remarks, a very touching part of the ceremony was the floral tribute offered by the Hayward family where each member of the four generations present took a long-stemmed rose from a basket and placed it in a large vase near the graves as an individual tribute to both Orlo and Eugene. It was wonderful to see the huge bouquets formed by so many family members who were in attendance, especially the very youngest generation.
The colors were retired and Taps was played off in the distance from Eugene Hayward’s grave to bring the ceremony officially to an end. Everyone present enjoyed the chance to renew family ties and to participate in honoring both Orlo and Eugene Hayward for their many years of service to our country.
This ceremony was the first to honor a Tillamook Rock Lighthouse keeper, and fittingly so, because many of the photos used in the Tillamook Rock Lighthouse book were shared by the Hayward family. All the proceeds from the sale of the book in the future will be spent in having similar ceremonies. Eight lighthouse keepers have already been identified who are buried in Ocean View Cemetery in Warrenton, Oregon.
Lighthouse Digest is proud to regularly organize and take part in these grave marker ceremonies all over the country to honor lighthouse keepers of the United States Lighthouse Service and Coast Guard. It is hoped that many more lighthouse descendants and organizations will join Lighthouse Digest in this effort.
This story appeared in the
Sep/Oct 2018 edition of Lighthouse Digest Magazine. The print edition contains more stories than our internet edition, and each story generally contains more photographs - often many more - in the print edition. For subscription information about the print edition, click here.
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