History of Calvary Catholic Cemetery by Chris Motto

September 11, 2012

Speaker: Chris Motto, Family Service Manager, The Catholic Cemeteries Association.

From Catholic Cemeteries Association

In 1886, the diocese established the Calvary Cemetery Association and Calvary Cemetery, a 200-acre tract of land in the Hazelwood area of Pittsburgh. The first burial took place in June 1888. Calvary Cemetery remains the largest of the diocesan cemeteries. Today it includes a beautiful chapel mausoleum, a large garden crypt development, the exclusive Cardinal Wright Oratory crypts, a large priests’ plot, and Shepherd’s Rest, a mausoleum set aside for the entombment of bishops of the Diocese of Pittsburgh. A total of 152,238 interments and entombments have taken place at Calvary Cemetery as of 2008.

Article from Tribune Review, September 8, 2006:

Calvary Cemetery is the resting place of three Pittsburgh mayors — David L. Lawrence, Richard Caliguiri and Bob O’Connor.

The 200-acre cemetery in Hazelwood counts several other notables among the 150,000 people interred there.

Harry Stuhldreher, the Notre Dame quarterback who was one of the legendary “Four Horsemen,” is buried at Calvary. So is boxer Billy Conn, the “Pittsburgh Kid,” who nearly went the distance with Joe Louis in 1941, despite being outweighed by 25 pounds.

A modest stone marks the grave of James “Pud” Galvin. Known as the “Little Steam Engine,” the Hall of Fame pitcher was the first man to win 300 games, in a career that began just 10 years after the Civil War ended.

The tombstone of actor Frank Gorshin, best known as The Riddler in the “Batman” TV series, fittingly features a question mark, as his green leotard did. It follows the inscription, “What does it all mean?”

The first U.S. infantryman killed fighting the Germans in the trenches of World War I, Pvt. Thomas Enright, was returned to Calvary for burial.

Two prominent brothers who died within a day of each other this summer are buried there — Common Pleas Judge Walter Little and Anderson Little, the host of a long-running radio program about Pittsburgh’s black community.

Another pair of brothers was buried in an unmarked grave at Calvary for decades.

Ed and Jack Biddle, two death row inmates at Allegheny County Jail in 1902, were sprung by the warden’s wife but shot by police as they fled in a sleigh for Canada.
Mel Gibson and Matthew Modine played them in the 1984 movie “Mrs. Soffel.” A headstone was placed on the brothers’ common grave afterward.

The Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh established the cemetery in 1886. About a quarter of the grounds are undeveloped, said Chris Motto, family services manager for the cemetery.

O’Connor’s mother, father and other relatives are buried at Calvary.
“His family is here, and this has always been his community,” Motto said.

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