Home > NewsRelease > Albuquerque Business First Gives Best Nonprofit Board Award to Historic Fairview Cemetery
Albuquerque Business First Gives Best Nonprofit Board Award to Historic Fairview Cemetery
Gail Rubin, The Doyenne of Death, Funeral Expert Gail Rubin, The Doyenne of Death, Funeral Expert
For Immediate Release:
Dateline: Albuquerque, NM
Thursday, March 10, 2022


ABQ Business First Award for CemeteryThe Board of Historic Fairview Cemetery was recognized by Albuquerque Business First’s 2022 Philanthropy Awards for Best Boards. Gail Rubin, President of the Board of the nonprofit organization and The Doyenne of Death®, accepted the award. The award ceremony was held March 10, 2022 with a crowd of more than one hundred in attendance.

“We have a very dedicated all volunteer Board that gets involved in the cemetery and makes things happen to improve the site and share its remarkable history,” said Rubin.

Some Albuquerque Cemetery History

In 1881, the railroad came to Albuquerque. The population boomed. People lived, and people died. That meant they needed to be buried somewhere. The empty sandy mesa two miles to the east and south of New Town Albuquerque was the perfect place. The sandy soil was easy to dig, and the mesa was above the Rio Grande flood plain. This location is now surrounded by neighborhoods, situated east of Isotopes Park and south of the University of New Mexico.

The first burial in Fairview Cemetery took place in 1881, although the cemetery was officially established in December of 1882. Many founders of Albuquerque businesses and the State of New Mexico are interred in Historic Fairview Cemetery. Starting in the 1960s, the historic cemetery began to deteriorate as perpetual care contracts ended. Vandals, drug addicts and homeless people wrought damage to the markers and grounds.

Glancing through the cemetery’s ornate gates, one sees fallen headstones, tumbleweeds and dirt. A nonprofit was established in 2011 to preserve Historic Fairview Cemetery and share its history. However, not much work was done – until 2020. In March of 2020, right at the start of the pandemic, a new Board took over Historic Fairview Cemetery’s nonprofit organization.

New Developments at the Cemetery

The new Board undertook these activities:

  • Raised funds with history tours on Memorial Day and Veterans Day.
  • Installed road signs so people could find their way around.
  • Created maps with self-guided history tour information.
  • Established a website, HistoricFairviewCemeteryABQ.org, and made the self-guided tour a downloadable PDF.
  • Fixed cemetery walls and re-set numerous headstones and markers.
  • Started monthly volunteer clean up sessions the first Saturday of each month.
  • Gathered mulch from local tree companies to cover the dirt and minimize weeds.
  • Held a Cemetery Stories event in the cemetery with the New Mexico Humanities Council and the Before I Die New Mexico Festival.

Going forward, the Board hopes to accomplish these goals:

  • Raise more funds to restore the two veterans’ burial areas in the cemetery and other veteran burial plots (approximately 500).
  • Reset the rest of the headstones that have fallen or been pushed over (approximately 100).
  • Install interpretive signage that helps tell the remarkable stories of Albuquerque and New Mexico through the lives of the people buried in Historic Fairview Cemetery.
  • Mulch the entire 17.5 acres of cemetery and encourage high desert natural growth.

HFCemetery Board with Award

The current Board members for Historic Fairview Cemetery (HFC)

  • Gail Rubin, President: A pioneering death educator, award-winning author and speaker, as well as a public relations professional and 2019 Women of Influence Award winner.
  • Patricia Milner, Vice President: Financial services executive with ambition and determination to preserve the historic value of the cemetery and a quest to promulgate this history to the general public, especially our youth.
  • Janet Saiers, Treasurer: A resident of Albuquerque since 1955, she is president of the Albuquerque Historical Society and past president of the Historical Society of New Mexico.
  • Sara Sather, Secretary: Sara and her husband Ed Sather (Director) are Directors and Lead Investigators of the Duke City Paranormal Research Society. They were both history majors in college and have a passion for researching history connected with the cemetery and improving the veteran burial areas.
  • Claude Valles: Has been a neighbor of the HFC for decades and got involved to get to know it better.
  • Pamela Wendt: A resident of Albuquerque since 1971, she is a retired science teacher, small business owner, and genealogy researcher.
  • Lisa Roberts: An expert in xeriscaping and natural gardening, she has been interested in history and historical cemeteries since childhood. She became interested in HFC after the 2021 Memorial Day tours and sees educational opportunities for youth through the cemetery.
  • Chris Nolan: The newest member of the Board, Chris brings expertise in uncovering the history of graveyards in Florida and restoring/maintaining old cemeteries.

The Historic Fairview Cemetery nonprofit organization coordinates volunteer cleanup and mulching activities in the cemetery on the first Saturday of each month from 9:00 a.m. to noon. The cemetery is located at 700 Yale Blvd. SE in Albuquerque. Enter through the gates of Fairview Memorial Park. The next cleanup is scheduled for Saturday, April 2. Join “Albuquerque’s Historic Fairview Cemetery Meetup Group” to be kept apprised of activities (https://www.meetup.com/albuquerques-historic-fairview-cemetery-meetup-group/).

“There’s a headstone in the cemetery that has the inscription, ‘God buries his workmen but carries on his work,” said Rubin. “We thank Albuquerque Business First for this award, and our great Board for their enthusiastic contributions to the cause. The work carries on.”

Watch the Acceptance Speech

Gail Rubin, CT, is author and host of the award-winning book and television series, A Good Goodbye: Funeral Planning for Those Who Don’t Plan to Die, Hail and Farewell: Cremation Ceremonies, Templates and Tips, and KICKING THE BUCKET LIST: 100 Downsizing and Organizing Things to Do Before You Die.

Rubin is a Certified Thanatologist (that's a death educator) and a popular speaker who uses humor and films to get the end-of-life and funeral planning conversation started. She "knocked 'em dead" with her TEDx talk, A Good Goodbye. She provides continuing education credit classes for attorneys, doctors, nurses, social workers, hospice workers, financial planners, funeral directors and other professionals. She's a Certified Funeral Celebrant and funeral planning consultant who has been interviewed in national and local print, broadcast and online media.

Known as The Doyenne of Death®, she is the event coordinator of the Before I Die NM Festival. She also hosts A Good Goodbye Internet radio show and produces Mortality Minute radio and online video spots. Her YouTube Channel features more than 450 videos!

Rubin is a member of the Association for Death Education and Counseling, the International Cemetery, Cremation and Funeral Association, Toastmasters International and the National Speakers Association New Mexico Chapter. Her speaking profile is available at eSpeakers.com.

Gail Rubin has been interviewed about funeral planning issues in national and local broadcast, print and online media. Outlets include The Huffington Post, Money Magazine, Kiplinger, CBS Radio News, WGN-TV,  and local affiliates for NPR, PBS, FOX, ABC-TV, CBS-TV and NBC-TV. Albuquerque Business First named her as one of their 2019 Women of Influence.

Sign up for a free planning form and occasional informative newsletter at her website, AGoodGoodbye.com.

News Media Interview Contact
Name: Gail Rubin
Group: A Good Goodbye
Dateline: Albuquerque, NM United States
Direct Phone: 505-265-7215
Cell Phone: 505-363-7514
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