War heroes, writers, TV personalities, mayors, governors, industry magnates and Civil War Soldiers—North and South—their stories come alive with living history presentations at Roanoke’s Evergreen Burial Park free walking tour Sunday, October 8th. These stories, which tell the history of Virginia, Roanoke and America, unfold in the 18th annual guided walking tour of Roanoke’s oldest cemetery. The tour begins at 2 p.m.
Every October, folks gather for a guided tour of this historic cemetery. Costumed living history actors portray highlighted individuals and stories. This year the tour will feature Kit Bond, reminiscing about his parents, SiFi writer Nelson Bond, and local Television personality Betty Bond. Doug Camper will portray Captain Robert Henry Day, Evergreen’s sole Union soldier and founder of Roanoke streetcar system in the late 1800s. Lee Anthony will return with his portrayal of WWII flying ace Bill Overstreet. JoAnn Bennett Kowtko will portray Virginia Lee Boyd Noell, founder of the Alpha Sigma Alpha sorority at State Female Normal School (now Longwood University) in 1901. JoAnn is a 2005 graduate of Roanoke College and a Sister in Alpha Sigma Alpha.
Among the other notables whose lives and contributions will be recalled include: Virginia Governor J. Lindsay Almond (1958–1962); World War II flying ace, Bill Overstreet; Martha Anne Woodrum Zillhardt, Virginia’s first instrument rated female aviator, founder of Woodrum Flying Service and the first woman president of the Virginia Aviation Trade Council; Carter Burgess, one of many distinguished veterans interred at Evergreen, served as Secretary of the General Staff to European Commander Dwight Eisenhower, and was selected to hand deliver the D-Day plans to France’s Charles DeGaulle and, after the War, served in a leading staff position at the conference in San Francisco that established the United Nations; and Sallie Weaver Robertson, who died at the age of 95 in 1937, was one of the last members of the Real Daughters of 1812, a group dedicated to promoting patriotism. Other monuments and memorials recognize significant events in national history.
The family-friendly tour is open to all who enjoy history and a pleasant Sunday stroll, highlighted by informative insights about people who left indelible marks on Roanoke and the Commonwealth of Virginia. The tour begins at the cemetery offices at 1307 Summit Avenue SW, in the city’s Wasena section.