Alva Review-Courier -

"Talking Tombstones" explores the history behind the stones in Alva Cemetery


Desiree Malicoat

Alva Masonic Lodge 105 partnered with the Cherokee Strip Museum in "Talking Tombstones," a historical tour of the Alva Cemetery, including characters from Alva's past. Dozens at a time took a "wagon" ride, with a narrator on board to tell who was on the next stop. Rides went on all afternoon into the evening hours. Hot dogs and snacks were provided at the park pavilion.

In the group of four photos, the photo in the top left corner features Nick Bradt depicting Colonel Bob Kirkbride, aka "Candy Bob." Candy Bob joined the circus in 1906 as a cook and learned how to make candy and brought it back to Alva.

In the top right photo, Frank Evans portrays Bill Eller, a builder in Alva who went to the war and then came home and lost his sight in a hunting accident, but continued to build buildings that still stand today in Alva.

Desiree Malicoat

The bottom left photo features Warren Little depicting Elbert English Piper. Piper was not only an Alva Goldbug alumnus but also a Northwestern Oklahoma State University alumnus who became an electrical engineer and worked extensively on early warning systems, such as the Doppler radar. He also worked on the Apollo program.

In the bottom right, Toby Anton (right) plays a young boy, Terry Gene Nix from Alva, who had a bad heart and met with a Dr. Nazih Zuhdi (played by Philip Anton) from Lebanon. Dr. Zuhdi performed a procedure called "Total Intention Hemodilution" on Nix in 1960, during which he performed Oklahoma's first heart transplant. He later would perform the first heart-lung transplant and double-lung transplant.


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