Expert Contribution

A Place Unlike Any Other

Enjoy Cypress Lawn’s Internationally Accredited Arboretum

The legacy of Cypress Lawn’s Memorial Park can be traced back over 100 years ago to our founder, Hamden Holmes Noble. 

At that time, city officials of San Francisco passed a law essentially “evicting” the dead from city limits. Real estate was in hot demand — which may feel akin to today’s housing market — and many community members didn’t want cemeteries taking up valuable space in the city. 

During a pivotal carriage ride, Noble’s friend pointed out an existing cemetery that was in extensive disrepair and insisted he find a solution. Noble knew there had to be a better way and began researching the rural and lawn park cemeteries along the East Coast. 

To create a similar aesthetic on the West Coast, Noble planted many trees, some of which are still alive today. These are part of the living wonders of our Arboretum collection, featuring over 100 species and nearly 3,000 individual trees. 

It was an honor for Cypress Lawn to receive Level I Arboretum accreditation from Morton Arboretum’s international ArbNet program. Our Arboretum includes a diverse collection of trees from all over the world — every continent except Antarctica. 

Our Arboretum Director, Josh Gevertz, recently launched in-person Tree Tours to allow guests the opportunity to explore and learn more about the origin and history of the many trees found at Cypress Lawn. 

But our passion isn’t just about the current state of our trees — we’re also planning for the next 100 years. Josh and his team are working to ensure the preservation, restoration, and curation of every tree located across our multiple campuses. 

Sometime this fall, we hope you’ll take time to visit Cypress Lawn’s Arboretum to pause, exhale, and reflect upon what’s most important. 

Trees are powerful symbols of renewal, and we believe Cypress Lawn is a place where both the young and old can appreciate their beauty while savoring life. 


By Robert A. Gordon Jr., President & CEO of Cypress Lawn Funeral Home & Memorial Park, Resident since 2017


About The Author

End of Life
Bob Gordon
Cypress Lawn Funeral Home & Memorial Park
(650) 550-8808

Robert Gordon Jr. began his career at his grandfather’s cemetery and funeral home as a teenager — he worked in every position, eventually rising to the level of Vice President. He went on to hold director positions at both the El Camino Group and Service Corporation International. Bob is now the President and CEO of the Cypress Lawn Cemetery Association. He is a licensed funeral director and cemetery broker. 

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