Albuquerque Business First Gives Best Nonprofit Board Award to Historic Fairview Cemetery

Mar 10, 2022 | 0 comments

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,, 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 (

“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

Albuquerque Business First Gives Best Nonprofit Board Award to Historic Fairview Cemetery
A Good Goodbye