Archive for February, 2014

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Posted in Mt. Auburn Cemetery with tags , , on February 28, 2014 by Cade

longfellow1February 27, 1807 – March 24, 1882

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow was a popular American Romantic poet whose lyrical poems often depicted historic or mythological narratives. Perhaps his most famous work is “Paul Revere’s Ride.”

Longfellow was born in Portland, ME and attended Bowdoin College. He spent many years abroad in Europe and learned a number of languages. This would lead to him becoming one of the more important translators of the 19th Century. In fact, he was the first American to translate Dante’s Divine Comedy. Though his works were met with popular success, his life was filled with tragedy. Both of his wives died young and tragically. After his second wife’s death, he struggled with depression and constantly feared for his own mental state. He spent the last half of his life in Cambridge, MA where he taught at Harvard and continued to write. He died of a stomach ailment at the age of 75. At the time of his death he was translating the works of Italian artist/poet Michelangelo.


Mt. Auburn Cemetery – Cambridge, MA

Specific Location

Indian Ridge Path; Walk up Lilac Path from the bend in Willow Ave. to Indian Ridge Path, take it to the left (northwest) and Longfellow’s tomb is just past the intersection with Catalpa Path on your right.



Johnny Paycheck

Posted in Woodlawn Memorial Park (TN) with tags , on February 28, 2014 by Cade

paycheck1May 31, 1938 – February 19, 2003

Donald Eugene Lytle, known to the world as Johnny Paycheck, was a country singer/songwriter whose biggest hit became an anthem for disgruntled employees for generations. Paycheck recorded “Take This Job and Shove It” in 1977 and it became his only number 1 hit. Though, Johnny had a number of smaller hits throughout his career, too. He was part of the “outlaw” movement of country music in the 1970’s. But, unlike many of his other outlaw contemporaries, Johnny lived it. Sure others had drug and alcohol issues like he did, but not many of them spent time in prison for shooting someone. But I digress. Johnny’s later years were spent in declining health and bankruptcy. When he died in 2003, longtime friend George Jones donated a burial plot for Johnny to be laid to rest. He was 64.


Woodlawn Memorial Park – Nashville, TN

Specific Location

Jones Family Estates; Just a few yards north of George Jones.


Winston Churchill

Posted in St. Martin's Churchyard with tags on February 27, 2014 by Cade

churchill1November 30, 1874 – January 24, 1965

Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill was a two-time Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. He is widely regarded for his steadfast leadership throughout World War II. Churchill’s political career grew slowly out of a lengthy service in the military which eventually led him to Parliament. After a period of political exile (self-imposed) he returned to the public eye when the war began. King George VI asked Churchill to succeed Neville Chamberlain, who had resigned as Prime Minister. His fearless refusal to yield to the advancing German forces set the tone for Great Britain’s survival in the face of unimaginable danger and helped slow the tide of war in Europe. After the defeat of the Germans in 1945, Churchill was not re-elected. He remained in politics and eventually DID win re-election in 1951. He served until 1955 when he retired, citing failing health. He remained in Parliament for nearly all of his remaining years. Churchill was also a noted writer and artist and was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1953. His close relationship with America – particularly, president Franklin D. Roosevelt – led to Churchill being named an honorary U.S. Citizen in 1963. Churchill died in 1965 from one final stroke (he had had many) at the age of 90. He was given a state funeral and millions of people around the world watched and mourned. At his request, he was buried in the family plot at St. Martin’s Church, not far from his boyhood home, Blenheim Palace.


St. Martin’s Churchyard – Bladon, UK

Photo taken in 1992. The marker has been changed since.

Specific Location

The Churchill family plot is on the north side of the church, Winston’s grave is the 3rd one from the south corner of the section, right on the sidewalk.

Jackie “Moms” Mabley

Posted in Ferncliff Cemetery with tags on February 27, 2014 by Cade

mabley1March 19, 1894 – May 23, 1975

Did you hear the one about the young girl from North Carolina who lost both of her parents tragically as a child, was raped twice before the age of 14 and had to give up the resulting children for adoption? Hoo-boy! It’s hilarious!

Such were the beginnings of one of the most influential female stand-up comics of all time. Jackie Mabley (born Loretta Aiken) ran away from all that to start a life of comedy…because that’s really all you can do at that point. Fast forward a few years and we find “Moms” -as she’s now referred – as a very popular comedian who is known for her racy material and frumpy on-stage persona. Mabley became one of the most successful acts on the so-called “Chitlin’ Circuit” – a series of “black-friendly” venues during the era of segregation – and forayed her act into the mainstream with regular spots on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour and the Ed Sullivan Show. She also made appearances in movies, including The Emperor Jones, with fellow Ferncliff resident, Paul Robeson. Moms carved quite the niche for herself over her 56 year career. If it takes that kind of childhood tragedy to produce that kind of funny, as least she managed to do it well.


Ferncliff Cemetery – Hartsdale, NY

Specific Location

Knollwood Garden 1, Row 14, Grave 4; In the Knollwood section, Moms is buried (as her plot indicates) 14 rows from the western edge of the garden, just a couple of spaces north of the road.


Woodrow Wilson

Posted in Washington National Cathedral with tags , on February 27, 2014 by Cade

wilsonw1December 28, 1856 – February 3, 1924

28th President of the United States. A progressive commander-in-chief responsible for a good number of the big-government policies that are still in effect today, Woodrow Wilson got a lot of stuff done. He was known for his oratory skills and as an intellectual leader. He ran for re-election in 1916 with the slogan “He Kept Us Out Of War”…only to finally launch the U.S. into World War I shortly after his second term began. Eh, you do what it takes to win, I guess. To his credit, Germany was defeated and, not only was he instrumental in the formation of the new League of Nations, but he was awarded the 1919 Nobel Peace Prize. Back on the home front…he may have been a little racist. Wilson left office in 1921 and lived his few remaining years on S Street in D.C.  He died in 1924 from complications of an earlier stroke and was buried in the Washington National Cathedral. To this day, he remains the only U.S. President buried in Washington D.C. proper.


Washington National Cathedral – Washington D.C.

Specific Location

In the elevated ambulatory along the south side of the Nave.


Phil Silvers

Posted in Mt. Sinai Memorial Park with tags on February 26, 2014 by Cade

silvers1May 11, 1911 – November 1, 1985

Comedian and actor, Phil Silvers, got his start in movie houses entertaining audiences when the projectors would break down. He spent the early parts of his career on the Broadway stage and in short subject films. Made the leap to feature pictures, but found his biggest fame as Sgt. Ernest Bilko on the CBS television show You’ll Never Get Rich – which was later named The Phil Silvers Show, once it was deemed a hit. Silvers was known as “The King of Chutzpah” for his physical, slap-sticky brand of comedy. After the success of his self-titled show, Silvers went on to appear in a many movies and returned a number of times to the stage. In 1972, he won a Tony Award for the role of Pseudolus in a revival of A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum – a role he turned down when the show first performed 10 years earlier. Silvers died of natural causes at the age of 72 after living with and continuing to perform despite the effects of a stroke he had suffered more than a decade before.


Mt. Sinai Memorial Park – Hollywood Hills, CA

Specific Location

Garden of Heritage, Lot 1004; At the far western corner of the small, triangular lawn section at the southwest corner of the park.


Webb Pierce

Posted in Woodlawn Memorial Park (TN) with tags , on February 25, 2014 by Cade

pierce3August 8, 1921 – February 24, 1991

Webb Michael Pierce was a flashy honky tonk singer and guitar player who was one of the most recognizable talents on the 1950’s. Pierce topped the country charts with his like “In The Jailhouse Now” and “Wondering” and was a member of the fabled Grand Ole Opry. His was a persona and a life of excess. His custom-made suits, silver-dollar-lined cars and piano-shaped swimming pools were indicative of his personal tastes. Even though he had a reputation as a hard drinker, Pierce continued to work in the industry, recording duets with the likes of Willie Nelson and his daughter, Debbie, though his popularity was never as high as it was early in career.  Webb Pierce died of pancreatic cancer at the age of 69.


Woodlawn Memorial Park – Nashville, TN

Specific Location

Gethsemane; Two rows to the west of Marty Robbins.


Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre

Posted in Montparnasse Cemetery with tags , on February 25, 2014 by Cade

sartre_debeauvoir1January 9, 1908 – April 14, 1986
June 21, 1905 – April 15, 1980

When French existentialist, Jean-Paul Sartre was asked how he would like to be remembered (keeping in mind, he HATED accolades and once refused the Nobel Prize for literature), he responded:

“I would like [people] to remember Nausea, [my plays] No Exit and The Devil and the Good Lord, and then my two philosophical works, more particularly the second one, Critique of Dialectical Reason. Then my essay on Genet, Saint Genet…. If these are remembered, that would be quite an achievement, and I don’t ask for more. As a man, if a certain Jean-Paul Sartre is remembered, I would like people to remember the milieu or historical situation in which I lived,… how I lived in it, in terms of all the aspirations which I tried to gather up within myself.”

He seems like a delight.

But, he was pretty smart and a pretty good writer. And fellow existential writer – and feminist social theorist – Simone de Beauvoir, fancied him some. The two had a long relationship and partnership that was anything but monogamous and oh-so French.

Simone de Beauvoir, herself, was best known as a novelist. She was very focused, as was Sartre, with themes of personal responsibility and liberty.

Sartre died exhausted and nearly blind in Paris in 1980. De Beauvoir died six years later – nearly to the day.


Montparnasse Cemetery – Paris, FRANCE

Photo circa 1997; a new, taller headstone is now there.

Specific Location

Division 20; At the northern end of the cemetery, north side of Ave. du Boulevard, just to the west of the main entrance


Winslow Homer

Posted in Mt. Auburn Cemetery with tags , on February 24, 2014 by Cade

homer1February 24, 1836 – September 29, 1910

A self-taught master of oils and watercolors, Winslow Homer was a New Englander through and through. He began his career as an illustrator for popular magazines like Harper’s Weekly. He continued to fine tune his craft and fixated on subjects that were considerably more common and less “picturesque” than much of the art that was popular at the time. Homer spent time in France and England before returning to New England and holing up in coastal Maine. His love of the sea and water is obvious in many of his works. Despite his time in Europe, he chose to remain true to his rough but realistic works instead of expanding to the increasingly-popular Impressionist movement. Winslow Homer was something of a hermit, but nonetheless was able to see the success of many of his paintings like Breezing Up (A Fair Wind) and Fox Hunt become reality. He was also able to make a living  on his paintings alone by the end of his life. A rarity back then. He painted until the end of his life and died in his cabin in Maine at the age of 74, leaving a number of unfinished works.


Mt. Auburn Cemetery – Cambridge, MA

homer1 - mt auburn - 11-13-13

Specific Location

Lily Path; Follow Lily Path south up the hill from the intersection of Poplar Ave. and Willow Ave., Homer is buried with his family on your left


Jerome Kern

Posted in Ferncliff Cemetery with tags on February 24, 2014 by Cade


January 27, 1885 – November 11, 1945

Jerome Kern’s contributions to American music in the first half of the 20th Century cannot be ignored. He wrote dozens of hit musicals for the Broadway stage and worked with many of the top lyricists of the day. Though his biggest hit – the groundbreaking Show Boat – is essentially the only show that has maintained its popularity, his stable of popular songs written for other shows and films remains a staggering portfolio even today. Songs like “The Way You Look Tonight,” “Pick Yourself Up,” “Ol’ Man River” and “Smoke Gets In Your Eyes” have been covered by everybody from Frank Sinatra to Billie Holiday. Kern moved from Broadway to Hollywood where he would receive 8 Academy Award nominations (winning twice). He continued to work prolifically until he suffered a cerebral hemorrhage while walking in New York City. He died less than a week later. Famed lyricist, Oscar Hammerstein, was at Kern’s side when he passed.


Ferncliff Cemetery – Hartsdale, NY

Specific Location

Ferncliff Mausoleum, Unit 4, Alcove C, Private Memorial Niche 1; Enter the main mausoleum doors, turn right, then left at the end of the hall, then right into Unit 4, then take the next right, Jerome’s niche is on the right.