Mysterious case of Henry Lefebvre’s ashes, left behind at OB carwash, finally laid to rest
by Mariko Lamb
Published - 10/31/12 - 03:56 PM | 24253 views | 5 5 comments | 662 662 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A heavy metal box with the remains of Henry Lefebvre, who died in 1995, was left at a carwash in Ocean Beach six months ago. Lefebvre’s ashes will be soon reunited with his relatives after dedicated detective work on the part of the Ocean Beach MainStreet Association and genealogy experts around the nation.                            Courtesy photo by Ocean Beach MainStreet Association
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Everyone has, at some point in life, lost something of worth — whether it is that irreplaceable piece of jewelry or a beloved tool that was never returned by a pesky neighbor. When it is a person one loses, however, the resulting emotion is devastating.

Losing a loved one twice is, well, unimaginable.

That is exactly what happened earlier this year when an unknown patron of OB Suds left behind a heavy metal box labeled “Henry Lefebvre: April 30, 1995” from Secure Crematorium in one of the carwash’s bays. After OB Suds owner Frank Greene discovered the box six months ago, he held onto it, thinking someone would return to claim it. When that didn’t happen, he turned the box over to the Ocean Beach MainStreet Association (OBMA) to help solve the mystery.

“We put the word out and we were overwhelmed with the press from all over. Within 18 hours, people were reading about Henry all over the country,” said Denny Knox, executive director of OBMA. “It’s amazing how fast the story spreads.”

After Lefebvre’s story broke on Oct. 22 on OBMA’s Facebook page, the community business organization received a number of calls and emails from genealogy buffs who offered to help track down Lefebvre’s relatives.

“A niece in Australia was contacted by a number of individuals, who graciously researched this for us, emailed me and managed to find another relative in Douglas, Ariz., who contacted another relative in California,” said Knox. “Gary Lefebvre said he will be here in two weeks and will pick up Henry’s ashes from us.”

Although the mystery remains as to who left the box at OB Suds, Lefebvre will soon be reunited with loved ones, thanks to the dedicated efforts of the OBMA and others around the nation who contributed to tracking the genealogy of Henry Lefebvre.

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November 22, 2012
Henry Renaud Lefebvre – the story continues............

My name is Erlene Lefebvre and I have lived in Australia for the last 43 years. My father was Henry’s brother Gilbert Lefebvre. He too had a successful football career but that is another story. When the ashes were first found the good people who do genealogy work on started contacting me because of my family tree that includes Uncle Henry. I in turn contacted my cousins Yvonne Sharp who lives in Sierra Vista, Arizona and Gil Lefebvre who live in Lake Arrowhead, California. After all they live closer to where this has all taken place and it would be easier for them to follow it up then me who lives half way round the world. Well I had no reply from Yvonne – she later said that she was in hospital. I called Gil and spoke to his wife Marcia and told her all about what was going on. She said that she would give Gil my message and he would get back to me. I then sent him an email with all the details and news items that I had to that point. Well I never heard from Gil either. So I had to work out how to get Henry buried and find the documents that were needed for this to happen. This has finally been achieved with the help of fellow genealogist and I thank them so much.

I contacted my nephew Gary Lefebvre that who lives in So. California and asked if he could please collect the ashes and we would figure out what to do after that. He did pick up the ashes on the 12th November and took them home.

While waiting for the ashes to be picked up I have spent hours/days/weeks on the computer trying to get all the information that I could so that we could have a proper burial. I have spoken to the funeral home that handled his cremation. I then went to Glen Haven Cemetery where Henry did buy 5 plots back in 1940. As you know his first wife Agnes, his mother Adela and his sister Mary are buried there. There were 2 empty plots and yes Henry could be buried in one at a cost of up to $1100.00 to finally put him in the ground in a plot that he owns. I do not have that kind of money and with no response from my cousins I was on my own. I then considered selling one plot to pay for his burial to be told that I would probably get around $75 for it. So that was out of the question too. I then thought about just scattering the ashes but finally had the idea that maybe Henry could be buried at Riverside National Cemetery because he did serve in the Navy during WWII. He actually enlisted 2 months after Pearl Harbor was attacked and left the Navy in 1945 when the war was over. Well after lots of emails back and forth I finally got all the paperwork that was needed to bury Uncle Henry with dignity and honour. There is also no charge because he is a veteran. I was so happy to have been a part of this and to finally have him rest in peace in such a beautiful surrounding.

On Tuesday Nov 20th Henry Renaud Lefebvre was buried with dignity and honor in Riverside National Cemetery. After 17 years may he finally rest in peace.

barbara beem
November 03, 2016
hi erlene ll

ihave just read this post about your uncle henry.

henry was a partner of my dad at sun aired bag company in Tujunga, California

are you able to reply to me so we can exchange notes?
barbara beem
November 03, 2016
I can be reached at
Carolyn LeFebvre
December 16, 2018
Hi Erlene,

Thank you for looking after Uncle Henry's remains. I was not aware this was taking place.

Please email me. I need to communicate with you. Hope you and yours are well. Merry Christmas!

Carolyn Lefebvre (Uncle Al's daughter)

Carolyn LeFebvre
December 16, 2018
Oops! My email is

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