Forever Entrusted to Our Care
ESTABLISHED IN THE 19th CENTURY
Located near the picturesque Blue Hills Reservation twelve miles from the historic heart of Boston, Blue Hill Cemetery was established as a private, non-sectarian organization in 1892 by a group of public-minded and forward-thinking citizens. Inspired by the “rural cemetery movement” that arose in mid-19th century America, and which emphasized landscape architecture as in integral element of cemetery design, Blue Hill Cemetery found its purpose in fulfilling the death care and permanent memorialization needs of residents from Braintree and the surrounding South Shore and south-suburban communities. The ensuing decades brought significant changes in death care practices. In honoring our past with an eye on the future, Blue Hill Cemetery has experienced remarkable growth and expansion due to the foresight and planning of its executive leadership and board of directors as well as its response to society’s ever-evolving customs, traditions, and beliefs associated with death care, bereavement, and memorialization.
CONTINUED GROWTH IN THE 20th CENTURY
Beginning In the early decades of the 20th century and continuing through World War II and into the mid-century, several monument and memorial park sections were developed and opened. During this time, the landscape architecture firm founded by FREDERICK LAW OLMSTED took part in the design of Blue Hill Cemetery. Olmsted is well known for designing the Emerald Necklace in Boston and Central Park in New York City. In realizing and fulfilling the public need for desirable cemetery space, the design and later development resulted in beautifully landscaped sections for the permanent memorialization of family and friends. One section was dedicated exclusively to the in-ground and mausoleum placement and permanent memorialization of veterans and their spouses. Further growth included the GARDEN OF GETHSEMANE, a community mausoleum with crypts for placement and permanent memorialization of decedents in caskets and a columbarium with niches for placement and permanent memorialization of cremated remains in urns.
EVOLUTION AND CHANGE IN THE 21st CENTURY
Previously undeveloped western and northwestern areas of the cemetery property evolved into several new sections for the burial and permanent memorialization of decedents in caskets and cremated remains in urns. A new community mausoleum and columbarium complex, the GARDEN OF ASCENSION, was opened in 2004. In 2013, construction began on our state-of-the-art crematory facility. The crematory and RIDGE ROOM opened in 2014, thus beginning our partnership with area funeral directors and funeral homes in fulfilling their clients’ requests for cremation and cremation-related services. Placement and permanent memorialization options that became available in 2022 include WOODLAND PATH COLUMBARIUM AND OSSUARY, a granite structure holding ninety-six private niches for cremated remains in urns and a central space (ossuary) for communal placement and permanent memorialization of cremated remains. Two new sections, 41-E and 42, were developed for burial and permanent memorialization of decedents in caskets and cremated remains in urns. In June 2023, we installed WOODLAND TERRACE COLUMBARIUM GARDEN AND OSSUARY. Woodland Terrace is a beautifully arranged grouping of three individual granite columbaria with a total of four-hundred-seventy-two niches for the placement and permanent memorialization of cremated remains in urns. The central columbarium contains an ossuary; please refer to the ossuary information in Woodland Path Columbarium and Ossuary above. Blue Hill Cemetery currently has 100 acres of developed space in use with an additional 26 acres in the eastern and northeastern areas of the cemetery property being developed for the placement and permanent memorialization needs of generations to come.
As the South Shore’s preeminent cemetery, Forever Entrusted to Our Care is a pledge to which we faithfully dedicate ourselves every day of every season. From the late 19th century and well into the 21st century, the sole purpose of our organization remains unwavering; to develop, nurture and maintain a place of permanent memorialization set in a pastoral sanctuary of reverence, remembrance, and repose.
Gerald M. Ridge
1929 – 2015
Businessman, Entrepreneur, Philanthropist,
and former Boston Policeman
Gerry was born and raised in South Boston, an enduring connection that remained important to him his entire life. He was the seventh of ten children. He attended parochial grade school in South Boston and graduated from South Boston High School. In 1946, Gerry enlisted in the United States Marine Corps and served fifteen months in China before being honorably discharged in 1948. Upon his return, he worked for four years for the City of Boston during Mayor James M. Curley’s administration. Gerry joined the Boston Police Department in 1952, serving five years under Police Commissioner Tom Sullivan. A respected and successful business leader in the greater South Shore community, Gerry became involved in the banking industry in the early 1970s. He was a Director at the Milton Bank and Trust and later served as President and Chairman of Board at USTrust / UST Corporation.
He was a member of The Clover Club of Boston for 40 years, serving as its President during the 1990’s and was a longtime member of the Wollaston Golf Club. Gerry was an insightful and creative entrepreneur. He purchased Blue Hill Cemetery in Braintree and in 1965 built Ridge Arena, recognized statewide as one of the first and best arenas at the time. In 1980, he converted the arena into the Ridge Racquet Club. Gerry later developed a function and events center, Top of the Ridge, and a travel agency, Classic Tours by Ridge. His final project, Blue Hill Crematory, was completed in December 2014. Gerry was a selfless and longtime supporter of numerous charitable organizations including Catholic Charities, the Irish American Partnership, the Laboure’ Center, Marian Manor, the Paraclete Center, Cops for Kids with Cancer and the Francis Ouimet Society, to name a few. In the mid-1980s, he founded the Boston Police Athletic League which he chaired and directed for twenty-five years. During that time, PAL donated in excess of five million dollars to the City of Boston specifically for youth programs. In 2008, Gerry founded a non-profit organization, the Ridge Charitable Trust, with the objective of continuing his work with the Boston Police Department and its at-risk youth programs in the City of Boston in addition to creating and sponsoring educational and athletic programming. Gerry’s desire of giving back and always helping people in need was nourished by his South Boston roots, the love he had for his family, the faith he had in his church, and the pride he had in his community.