Fairlawn Cemetery has a long family tradition of service to the community. The founder, Abraham Vermeulen, immigrated to this country from Holland in 1854. He had a grocery store and a tailor shop in Paterson, where immigrants could speak their own language and share the problems of adjusting to the new country.
He began assisting them in arranging funerals, and he saw that the community needed its own cemetery. He and a partner bought a small section of land above Goffle Road in Hawthorne in 1868. As the community grew, it became clear that this site was not large enough.
He and the older of his eleven children purchased twenty acres of land in Fair Lawn and opened the cemetery on July 16, 1894. The children were involved in the development of the cemetery from the beginning. The sons helped grade and build the roads using horses when they were available from the funeral home.
After Abraham died in 1902, his wife Jannete and the children continued the tradition and bought ten more acres which became the memorial section. Jannete died in 1907 and the children continued managing the cemetery into the 1940s. By that time, a board of directors from the next generation took over management. During this era, the cemetery was improved with underground irrigation, pavement of gravel roads and a modern office building.
The board passed to the fourth generation of the family during the 1990s, the centennial of the cemetery. The current board has continued the tradition by building a columbarium, mausoleum, modernizing the equipment, returning unused land to usage, and using the latest methods of landscaping to make the cemetery one of the best maintained in the area.