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Blaine Lake (Great Deer) - Bethel Cemetery

R.M. of Blaine Lake No. 434.
Legal Land Location: SW 6-42-7, W3d. Located 19 km south west of Petrofka bridge on Hwy 12, about 80 km from Saskatoon.
Record of Marked Burials Made on August 11, 1995.
Summary - 34 marked graves, plus 50 unmarked, plus many more not clearly visible.
Cemetery Restoration Project - May 1995:
Update: 2010

The cemetery lies at the west end of the church yard which is 0.50 acres in area. Cemetery itself measures 185 by 115 feet. There is a row of tall evergreens just outside the north border of the yard, planted by Paul Burima, former owner of the quarter section on which the cemetery is located. Paul passed away in 1977; his grave lies near a tall spruce tree he planted.

Condition of yard and cemetery: The yard is badly overgrown with tall brome grass, with patches of tall weeds which need cutting. Ornamental lilac bushes were planted near graves, but now are huge and overgrown.

Steps taken to restore the cemetery, A work party was held on Monday, June 12th and the following repairs made:
1. Some of the old mesh wire fence next to the tree belt was removed, as there is a fence just outside of the trees. A new four foot galvanized chain link fence erected along the west and south sides of the cemetery. A few posts were replaced. A four strand barbed wire gate was installed at the church yard entrance.

2. Our parents' graves were repaired by my brother and his son. Care of individual graves is a family responsibility (where there are surviving members who are able and willing).

Further Restoration Needs: 1. two unused old wooden toilets near the north east corner close to where the church once stood. Possibly one could be repaired and moved closer to the cemetery. 2. A tall unused power pole in the middle of the yard. A sign "CEMETERY" could be fastened at the very top to help pinpoint the cemetery's location from a distance. With the church now gone, the site is hard to locate.

Costs of Some Materials: Revelstoke Lumber, Beaver Lumber and Co-op Lumber were contacted. Chain link fencing sold from about $55 to $62 for a 50 foot length plus PST and GST. On June 6/95 nine rolls of galvanized 50 foot fencing was purchased from McLellan Fencing Supply in Saskatoon for $555.41 plus GST, but not PST, as this is a non-profit organization. Nine posts, staples, etc., from Co-op came to $26.60.

Volunteers who have offered to help: Abe Reimer, former church board chairman. Retired and living in Saskatoon, Abe is still interested in helping all he can. He made many good suggestions and gave a generous donation to help cover costs. James Reimer, son of Abe and Helen. James works at the Co-op Home Centre on Avenue C and Circle Drive. Ken Reimer, also from this family. Ken farms in the Borden district nearby. Cecil Burima, son of Paul. Farms several kilometers east of cemetery. Nina Burima, mother of Cecil. Has a plot reserved beside her late husband. Hans Nickel. Hans is a valuable volunteer. He mows grass around his family plots annually. Gary Nickel also lives nearby, close to Hans' farm. Jake and Wally Nickel, brothers of Willie, interred in the cemetery. John, Marge, Hank and Arnie Nickel whose parents and infant sister lie in the cemetery. Their sister Kay from Ontario is willing to contribute financially. Erwin and Katie Dueck, Katie's father and maternal grandmother are buried in this cemetery.


R.M. of Blaine Lake, No. 434. Formerly, the Great Deer District.

This cemetery is owned by the General Conference of Mennonites, and was established in 1915. It is about 80 km (50 miles) from Saskatoon on the Borden-Blaine Lake grid road. The church remained active for 65 years. In 1977, due to a declining farm population, it had to close. In 1993 the church building was taken over by a small congregation and moved to Rosthern, but the cemetery is still very much in use.

In May 1995, discussions were held with Mr. Abe k. Reimer, long time church board chairman, about restoring the cemetery. He made a generous donation, and work commenced right away. A work party was held on June 12th, and was a big success. A new mesh wire fence was put up around two sides of the cemetery, and a wire gate installed. Old pieces of fence and posts were removed. The grass was cut, and lilac bushes trimmed. Since then, the entire cemetery has been mowed again, and nearly all the hard-to-cut badger brush removed. One huge lilac bush has been partly cut down, revealing two or three graves beneath it; hence it will be removed altogether. A new sign will be erected soon, and a toilet put up near the cemetery.

So far, new fencing and posts, a lawn mower and a sign have been purchased for a total of almost $1,100.00. Would you kindly consider making a donation for the upkeep of this cemetery? Thanks very much. Please fill in the portion below and send it in as soon as possible. Plans are underway to make this a non-profit, charitable organization which will issue tax deductible receipts.

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Cemetery Report

I spoke with Hans Nickel who kindly offered to transport nine 50 foot rolls of galvanized chain link (mesh wire), staples and poles to the cemetery for a work project, planned for June 12, 1995. The work party sent ahead as planned, and was a big success. Six volunteers were present: Hans and Bernie Nickel, Erwin Dueck, Hank and Erik Nickel, Jake G. Nickel and I, John P. Nickel. The following got done in only five hours:

1. Removing and rolling up the rusted remains of an old mesh wire fence next to the row of evergreen trees along the entire length of the north boundary of the church yard.

2. Repairing the northeast corner of the fence along the outside of the evergreens which is the quarter section now owned by Charles Wall.

3. Putting up a new four foot high chain link fence along the west and south sides of the cemetery portion of the church yard, almost 300 feet.

4. Building a four strand barb wire gate for the main entrance, 16 feet in length. The church yard is now totally enclosed and "cattle proof."

In the meantime, Hans N. cut the grass on the south portion of the cemetery, where there the most marked graves are located.

Hank and Erik, with the help of others, repaired to the headstones of our parents' graves.

September 1995

A good lawn mower was purchased for $200.00 from Hank Nickel of North Battleford. It is now kept in the garage of Erik Nickel, 1505 Victoria Avenue, Saskatoon.

John and Erik mowed the completely cemetery, then cut down a goodly portion of the high Badger brush, which conceals many grave sites. They also commenced cutting down a huge lilac bush on the west side. It was starting to grow over the new fence just erected. More lilac bushes will have to be cut, as well as the rest of the Badger brush.

[Note: this information has now been moved to our website proper. For faster updating, and so that you may download the data easier, you may now open or download this linked PDF file with the most recent data we have for those interred in this cemetery: Blaine-Lake-Great-Deer-Bethel-Cemetery.pdf]

Notice that there is an earlier version of this cemetery known as Great-Deer-Bethel-Cemetery.shtml, which identifies a longer list of unmarked graves. You may want to compare.

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Mennonite Historical Society of Saskatchewan

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Saskatoon, SK, S7K 7H8
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