Gilby (Kalmu) Cemetery

Gilby (Kalmu) Cemetery was established by Estonian pioneers in 1914 on land donated by Jaak Kinna. In June 1914, members of the Estonian community met to form the Kalmu Cemetery Company. John Turner was president; Fritz Kinna, correspondent; and Mike Sestrap, treasurer. Others who took part in the first meeting were: Mart Sestrap, Hugo and Oscar Mottus, Henry and John Kinna, Paul and Karl Langer, P. Perler, A. Piihoja.

Land for the cemetery was donated by John Turner. The company sold 60 shares for $8 per share for a plot. It was stipulated that all graves be mounded, have a cross, and be kept tidy.

Oscar Mottus erected a 10-foot tall, black cross in the centre of the cemetery. He was paid $3.50 to do this. Mart Sestrap was hired to build a tool box and provide markers.

The cemetery treasurer received a salary of $5/year plus fifty cents for each plot. In 1930, this salary went up to $10/year plus a dollar for each plot.

The cemetery is maintained largely by volunteers, who hold an annual cemetery clean-up and have put up a fence, new gates, and a large sign. "Kalmu" means "resting place" in Estonian, and since the cemetery was organized primarily by Estonians, it was agreed to keep Kalmu in the cemetery sign, which reads: "Gilby (Kalmu) Cemetery."

Mrs. Perler was the first Estonian Pioneer to be buried in the Gilby (Kalmu) Cemetery.

Alberta's Estonian Heritage