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From The Publisher's Desk

From the publisher's desk: There’s a story behind every headstone

Last week I walked among the dead. I paused at headstones and read the names and epitaphs on the hill in Crescent City. It’s been a long time since I strolled through a cemetery.

My parents and I explored cemeteries together in the Los Angeles area one summer when I was a kid.  We wandered among the statues and sculptures and read the inscriptions on tombs at memorial parks like Forest Lawn. Besides being the final resting place of famous people, the park boasts architectural landmarks like Wee Kirk o’ the Heather chapel where Ronald Reagan married Jane Wyman in 1940.

Valentino, Douglas Fairbanks, Mary Pickford, Norma Shearer – all my mother’s favorite silent screen stars – are buried at Hollywood Memorial. When we were there, Mom took the opportunity to tell me what she knew about these legends.

Last Wednesday I walked among the gravesites at Crescent City’s Catholic Cemetery searching for one particular family. For months I have been piecing together the story of Lt. Clifford Kamph for whom the State Park in Smith River is named. Clifford died at the age of 28 on a training mission during World War II.  His parents donated some of their property to Del Norte County in Clifford’s memory and in memory of all veterans to be used as a park to memorialize their only son. I discovered few people could tell me anything about Clifford Kamph or why the park was named after him.

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Del Norte Triplicate:

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Crescent City, CA 95531

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