If you’re a cemetery fan, La Vista in the unincorporated city of Lincoln Acres is the South Bay place for you.
For the rest of us, La Vista is still a nice place to visit on a Sunday afternoon. Lady Martinelli also provides tours, but exploring by yourself can also be a serene experience.
La Vista is important to the South Bay for its history, the diversity of the tombstones, the indigent headstones and the very special Al-Rahma Garden. Driving along the grounds, the center area also has an Army Memorial.
The Kimball Headstones
The founders of National City, the Kimballs, are buried here. As you may remember from my history of Brick Row, the Kimballs came to Southern California and bought the vast Rancho De La Nacion. He and his brothers went on to build the wharf, the Sweetwater Reservoir, establish an olive oil press, a lemon packing industry and brought people to the region to erect lavish Victorian homes.
He also established this cemetery. Frank Kimball called this 30-acre piece of land the “Silent City on the Hill.” It was first named Silver Gate Cemetery and his wife, Sarah, planted eucalyptus trees that are still there.
You can visit Frank and Sarah’s tombstone at the top of the hill in the Kimball Memorial area.
Lady Martinelli’s family members, the Zubov’s, also lie within the historical part of La Vista. Since her father was a musician, the headstone is cut to look like a bench. On the side it reads, “Strollin’ Along Singing A Song” and there’s an engraving of the Big-Band Sound.
Reading the headstones in La Vista, you can see how many diverse people have settled here: Laing Y, Quicho, the WWII Filipino Veteran and Jose and Juanita Melendez whose pictures are displayed on their headstone from when they were young and when they were old. .
This area is gated and has the crescent and star symbol. The gate isn’t locked, so the public can pay their respects here anytime.
The front commemoration explains, “This garden is dedicated to Mohammed Aziz Purmul for his hard work to unite all Muslims in San Diego for the establishment of their own cemetery. Please pray for him.”
A few headstones may warm your heart, such as Osman Tatar’s which says, “Rest In Peace Pop” or heartbreaking Yusra Zamil, Baby girl of Zulfar and Salim. Her small feet are engraved on the headstone.
La Vista also received the county contract to bury the indigent who may have died in San Diego or were undocumented immigrants. You can leave flowers for graves marked, “In loving memory to the unknown but never forgotten.” The memorial is written in both Spanish and English.
They also have a non-endowment care section, which means that families can have the less expensive option of burying their loved ones in a space that they care for themselves.