EVERETT — Some people go to Evergreen Cemetery to explore the region’s history and look at Civil War-era headstones.
Others visit to leave flowers and pay respects to loved ones.
Late Wednesday or early Thursday, vandals went to the 100-acre cemetery intent on “pure mischief,” officials said.
They used a sledgehammer to smash a white marble headstone belonging to a World War II Pearl Harbor survivor. The grave of another veteran, who served in both World War I and World War II, also was hit.
The granite face plate of a private mausoleum was shattered and the handle of a coffin inside removed. The vandals chipped away at the Rucker monument, the 30-foot tall, turn-of-the-century granite pyramid that contains the remains of one of the city’s founding families.
“We’re just appalled that they would do this to someone’s loved ones, let alone someone who served the country,” said Allen Ice, general manager of Evergreen Funeral Home and Cemetery.
The vandalism totaled around $12,000 in damages.
Headstones are knocked down from time to time, Ice said.
“This is much more belligerent, vicious,” he said.
No remains were disturbed.
Cemetery groundskeepers found the broken marble and other vandalism early Thursday and called police. They found beer cans and bottles as well a vial of nail polish.
Police have no suspects and no witnesses, Everett police Sgt. Robert Goetz said. The hope now is that someone with a guilty conscious will turn himself in.
They’ll also collect fingerprints and other physical evidence from the area.
Everett detectives plan to share information with Seattle police to see if there’s any connection to recent cemetery vandalism there, Goetz said.
In the meantime, extra patrols will be assigned to keep an eye on the city’s largest graveyard.
It appears the vandals apparently tried unsuccessfully to break into the Rucker tomb, the giant granite monument built 100 years ago.
The desecration is disturbing to relatives and people who care about the region’s history.
More than 60,000 people are buried at Evergreen, including four governors, Sen. Henry M. “Scoop” Jackson, state legislators, veterans dating back to the Civil War and many of the city’s founding families, including the Ruckers.
“The cemetery is basically a wonderful encyclopedia on the city,” said David Dilgard, a historian at the Everett Public Library.
Ever since the Rucker pyramid went up, the mausoleum has attracted problems.
“Our guess is that vandalism began to occur almost immediately,” Dilgard said.
It cost $30,000 to build, a fortune at the time, he said.
Bill Rucker, 68, said he’s just glad no one was hurt climbing on the tomb where his ancestors rest.
About a dozen relatives are interned in the crypt, he said. He’s only been inside twice, when his parents died. A crypt is reserved for him, but he’s in no rush.
“I’m hoping it will be another 68 years,” he said.
The vandalism is upsetting.
“I think it’s too bad when people do stupid things,” Rucker said. “I don’t take it personally.”
Reporter Jackson Holtz: 425-339-3437 or email@example.com.