Above: Highland Cemetery gate, Okemah, Oklahoma.
Above: Guthrie family plot, Highland Cemetery, Okemah, Oklahoma.
Above: Grave of Clara Edna Guthrie, Woody's sister, Highland Cemetery, Okemah, Oklahoma.
Above: Grave of Nora Belle and Charles Edward Guthrie, Woody's parents, Highland Cemetery, Okemah, Oklahoma.
Above: Memorial marker for Woody Guthrie, who is not actually buried here, Highland Cemetery, Okemah, Oklahoma.
Above: Grave of Lee Roy Guthrie, Woody's brother, Highland Cemetery, Okemah, Oklahoma.
Although Woody was cremated after he died on October 3, 1967, and his ashes scattered at Coney Island, New York, there is a memorial marker for him in the Guthrie family plot in Highland Cemetery, located just a few blocks north of downtown Okemah. His parents and a brother and a sister are buried here, however.
To reach Highland Cemetery from downtown Okemah, drive east on W. Broadway until you reach Woody Guthrie Boulevard (a.k.a. Highway 62 or the Brownfield Highway). Turn left and drive about a mile north of town. You'll be going up a small hill just before you reach the cemetery, which is on the right hand side (east side) of the road when coming from this direction. You can't miss it.
This is a big cemetery, with no on-site office. My son and I would have probably spent all day looking for the Guthrie family plot if not for some luck. We spotted a lady walking around the cemetery for exercise. Her name was Cora, she was wearing a Woody Guthrie Festival ball cap, and most importantly she knew exactly where the Guthries are buried and showed us!
To find the Guthrie family plot, drive in through the main gate (pictured on this page, above). Instead of going straight ahead, turn right on the unpaved track that parallels the road, then left on the next unpaved track, which is lined with trees. Drive to the fifth tree and stop. The Guthrie family plot is on the left, in the shadow of the tree.
The first grave you'll encounter is that of Woody's sister, Clara Edna, who was burned to death in 1918. (See pages 18-19 in Ed Cray's Ramblin' Man.)
The next grave has a double marker for Woody's parents, Nora Belle and Charley Edward Guthrie.
Woody's marker is next, engraved with the words "Bound For Glory," and a self-portrait cartoon that was originally drawn by him. Pilgrims like me leave rocks, coins or other small mementoes on the stone. Remember, he was cremated so he is not actually buried here.
The last stone in the line is a double marker for Woody's brother Lee Roy and his wife, Anna, who is apparently still alive as there is no date of death shown.
You can return to town by reversing the direction in which you came to the cemetery.