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How John Muir’s daughter came to be buried in Ontario’s Bellevue Cemetery

By in Press Enterprise on November 27, 2017

By Joe Blackstock

In a quiet row of graves at Bellevue Cemetery in Ontario, the stone for Buel A. Funk and his wife Helen, does not especially stand out to the visitor.

In fact the only real reason to pause at their gravestone is that Helen was the youngster daughter of John Muir, the famed naturalist and a founder of the Sierra Club.

“Helen Muir” last month was one of five persons, whose graves are at Bellevue, who were portrayed by actors in Ontario Heritage’s annual Cemetery Tour. Her work with her father during his lifetime was detailed in the presentation.

But what was unclear then was why she and her husband, neither of whom had any direct dealings in the Ontario area and living in the High Desert, are buried at Bellevue.

Helen Muir lived her youth with her sister at the Muirs’ family home and ranch in the east Bay Area community of Martinez. For much of her early life, her father was busy traveling worldwide helping with the creation of numerous national parks and historic areas while serving for 12 years as the first president of the Sierra Club.

Helen helped with her father’s writings and correspondence but was often in poor health. Her family decided to move her away from the damp air of the Bay Area, first to Altadena and then finally to the dry air of Daggett, east of Barstow.

It was there she later met Funk, the member of a large High Desert ranching family, and married him in Los Angeles in 1909. Interestingly enough, her father couldn’t attend their wedding ceremony in Los Angeles because he was summoned to guide President William Howard Taft and his party in a tour of Yosemite National Park.

Helen’s husband is a bit of an enigma, as sources listed him variously as a rancher, real […]    

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