Ascension Cemetery – Bel Aire 

7200 E 45th St N, Bel Aire, KS 

According to catholiccemeterieswichita.org, this Catholic cemetery was dedicated in 1998.  

The entrance is marked by a statue of the Ascending Christ which is backed by a series of black granite pillars.  I am hesitant to say it, because some might scoff. But Jesus is looking good.

There are two mausoleum walls both in black granite.  One is dedicated to St. Joseph and one is dedicated to St. Mary. 

One of the more interesting things about this cemetery is a natural burial area called St. Francis Garden.  That means that an unembalmed body is placed in a biodegradable casket or burial shroud that is placed directly in the ground without a surrounding vault.  There are also no headstones, they have been replaced with a memorial wall. 

The most famous grave belongs to Owen Lacey “Red” Friend Jr.  The Major League Baseball Player was born in Granite City, IL on March 21, 1927. 

He played with the St. Louis Browns, Detroit Tigers, Cleveland Indians, Boston Red Sox and Chicago Cubs.  After retiring as a player, Friend served as a coach with the Kansas City Royals, during their inaugural season in 1969.  He died at age 80 in Wichita on October 14, 2007.

The oldest grave belongs to Cuc Thi “Maria” Tran.  There are no exacts dates but the years are 1919 – 1944.

The Vietnamese phrase: Hai con va cac chau lap mo, was on the grave. It translates to “Two children and each other.”

%d bloggers like this: