A brief explanation of the burial process at potters field

Prior to 1963 people interred in the County's indigent cemetery were buried in individual plots. This resulted in a cemetery that was very quickly running out of space. On June 11, 1963 the Board of Supervisors adopted an ordinance that required all future burials be cremated remains in mass graves to accommodate the ever growing number of interments. Burials now occur only every few years.

As someone dies and is determined to be an indigent (without family and means, or family is unable to provide for burial), the remains are cremated and sent to the Coroner's office pending the collection of a sufficient number (up to 450) of cremated remains to fill a grave. Abandoned bodies (unclaimed) are held for 30 days before cremation. Cremated remains are held for a sufficient time after death so that at any time prior to the burial, an individual's ashes may be reclaimed for private burial (in the past one or more years). Although each person's ashes remain in their own individual containers, once the cremated remains are buried, they can not be claimed or disintered. Contact the Fresno County Coroner's office at (559) 600-3400 for more information.

The first mass grave is located in Fresno County Cemetery # 2, in row 37 South, grave 51. Seven more have followed, the last being in 2018 at row 37 South, graves 58 & 59, for deaths that occurred up to June 2017. Only one of these graves has a marker (see 1995 Fresno Bee articles), the 1995 burials in row 37 South, grave 53.     see map

At present, infants are no longer included in the mass burial. Services for infants are now provided by the Garden of Innocence project, and are interred in Mountain View Cemetery.

Eugene Sibley
created November 2015
updated Oct. 20, 2018