Nearly 15 years later, unnamed baby receives marker for grave

This gravestone was anonymously donated to Crescent Grove Cemetery this month, in honor of a baby boy who was found dead in Tigard in 1999.On Memorial Day, hundreds gathered at Crescent Grove Cemetery to pay their respects to loved ones, and, as always, Nancy Felton was among them with flowers in hand.

Felton, the cemetery’s general manager for 17 years, visits graves every day and has made a special point to lay flowers on an unmarked grave of an infant baby each Memorial Day for the past 15 years.

The boy, who was found dead in Tigard in 1999, had been discovered wrapped in blankets in a field not far from the Tigard exit of Highway 217. No one ever claimed his body, and its unknown who he was, or who his parents were, Felton said.

“It was just really sad,” Felton said. “It has been tugging at our hearts for all these years.”

On Monday, when Felton visited the gravesite, things looked different. Two anonymous families donated a headstone for the baby’s grave.

“It was just awesome,” Felton said.

The two families were longtime friends of Felton's who have loved ones buried in the cemetery.

Felton had mentioned the unmarked grave over the years, but said she never expected anyone to care, so many years after the child’s death.

Felton had never heard of a situation like the infant boy's, or of families coming together to donate a headstone for a child they had never met.

“This is the first thing that I can recall of this sort,” she said.

One of the women who donated the headstone said she and her husband donated the marker anonymously because she wasn’t trying to get any “kudos” for her actions.

“It meant a lot to us because of what we’ve gone through,” said Judi. “You look at a life and babies a lot differently after you’ve lost someone. There should be value placed on life.”

Judi said she remembered seeing news reports about the boy's death in 1999, and the story stayed with her.

“It has always bothered us,” she said.

Judi and her husband toyed with the idea of purchasing a headstone for a few years before making a decision, she said.

“Eventually we said, 'It’s just not right.' A marker on a grave tells a story. He didn’t have a story, but he deserved one," Judi said.

It's a simple headstone. The flat stone marker reads, “Unknown Baby Boy,” with the date of his death and the phrase “In the loving arms of Jesus" across the top.

Judi said that now, as families walk past the site, they'll know something about him.

“At least this way he will be remembered,” Judi said. “We felt really deeply that he deserved to be remembered and that we put a value on his life.”

Felton said she hoped news of the headstone reaches the boy’s parents, so they know their child was taken care of.

“You never know what the circumstances are (that led to the boy’s death),” Felton said. “But he was cared for.”

Crescent Grove Cemetery is located at 9925 S.W. Greenburg Road, in Tigard.

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