Congratulations 24 Hour Association on 50 Years of Service!

Toller Cranston's Pantheon debut, Photo courtesy of Scott Umstattd

Decorated graves Day of the Dead

By Natalie Hardy

Yes, we are 50 years strong. That is many more years than most current residents have lived in San Miguel. It all began in 1965 when a certain Admiral Alex Charlton sent out a memo to members of the foreign community: “A committee of year round residents is being set up to take action in accordance with directions available on a card file, specifying all wishes of the deceased, who will have deposited in the Association, a sum sufficient to cover the type of services required. A meeting will be held in the Instituto Allende Theater at 12pm on April 6 to select this committee.” And so the 24 Hour Association was born to handle the final wishes of foreign residents living in San Miguel without other family members present.

Over the years, 24 Hours grew from an 11-member board and 30 initial members, to over 525 members today. Until 1973, members were interred in the Pantheon, the local cemetery, with the general population. In that year, the city expanded the cemetery and granted land specifically to the Association. The association then paid for the enclosing brick wall surrounding the 1,000 square meters of land granted. Stirling Dickinson and Florence Howard devised the layout of the plans, which conforms to a consistent and uniform overall plan. It is of white marble headstones or niche markers in terrazzo with gold inscriptions. Such consistency of design lends itself to the overall peace and tranquility of this remarkable corner of the city, which houses so many names who have left their mark, out of love for San Miguel de Allende.

Who are we today and what do we do? Five decades later, we uphold the last wishes of our deceased members. We have, by the way, upgraded those original card files to computer and hard copy files. We have modernized with the time. While many of the members and board grow older, the recent members get younger and younger. We have members who joined in the 1970s, such as Leonard Brooks, who passed away in 2011. We have living members such as Luisa Velte, who joined in 1977. The sooner you join, the sooner you will lock in the one-time payment, no matter how much costs go up and time goes by before you pass away. Isn’t it nice to join an organization that takes care of your personal details, so you need not think about what happens when you die on foreign soil? Your instructions will be handled as per your file by the dedicated board members of 24 Hours. Give your friends and family this final gift!

In the meantime, we urge you to visit the Pantheon where our section is. Beyond the Real de Minas hotel parking lot, you will find the entrance to the Pantheon. Go straight down the central walkway until you come to a small building. Go around this structure, and immediately on the other side, to the left, is an iron gate open during daytime hours. The peace and tranquility here is palpable. Walk among the plots and down along the niches. A lot of San Miguel history of foreign personalities will come alive.

We have recently completed our Annual General Meeting. If you missed this and want more information about 24 Hours, go to and visit our website which gives all manner of information and the application form. If you need specific questions answered, email and Executive Secretary Linda Kay Cooper will give answers to your individual case. If you do not do email, call Linda at 185 2023.

I am the current public relations officer and vice president of the 24 Hour Association. I have participated with gratitude in this association since the death of my husband in 2004, and I have been a board member for 11 years.


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