Archive for July, 2015

Robin Williams

Posted in Cremated with tags on July 31, 2015 by Cade

williams1July 21, 1951 – August 11, 2014

Sometimes, it’s just completely outside the realm of possibility that a star that shines so bright can be extinguished. Such is the case with Robin Williams, one of the most talented and popular entertainers in the world for more than 30 years. As someone who grew up in the 1980’s, I could never have imagined a world that didn’t contain some form of Robin. From his star-making role as the titular Orkan on ABC’s Mork and Mindy to his Academy Award winning (dramatic) turn in Good Will Hunting, Williams was always there…always larger-than-life…always great.

His manic style played well to audiences who tried desperately to keep up with the comedian’s rapid delivery. He would go off the cuff on one subject and, 5 minutes later, viewers were trying to figure out not only how he got to where he ended up, but how they can be breathing having laughed so hard. His brain was seemingly firing non-stop – with no boundary or direction taboo. He was one of a kind.

So, when the world lost Robin Williams to suicide in 2014, shock was the new reality. Few would have seen it coming. None could imagine a post-Robin world. Yet, there we all were, remembering his countless characters and performances. Reciting lines from Good Morning, Vietnam, Aladdin and Mrs. Doubtfire. The world mourned his passing with laughter and tears. It was suddenly little less funny of a place – and a lot less bright.

Burial

Cremated – Robin’s ashes were scattered in the San Francisco Bay.

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Norman Rockwell

Posted in Stockbridge Cemetery with tags , on July 27, 2015 by Cade

February 3, 1894 – November 8, 1978

Norman Rockwell was a painter and illustrator who’s definitive style portraying every-day life in 20th Century America is instantly recognizable to generations of people. He spent nearly 50 years creating covers for The Saturday Evening Post, a weekly magazine that could be found in homes all across the country as well as countless other publications, books and stand-alone pieces. Rockwell’s ability to capture the “simple” life with humor and poignancy made him immensely popular. His ubiquitous work can still be seen today in doctors’ offices, during the holidays or in the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

Personal note: There was a copy of No Swimming in our guest room when I was growing up for as far back as I can remember.

Point is, Rockwell’s work is celebrated…and everywhere. In all, he produced more than 4,000 original pieces of art. Though many of his most famous works are comic and whimsical, Rockwell himself often had bouts of depression. He worked regularly into his 80’s before succumbing to emphysema at the age of 84.

Burial

Stockbridge Cemetery – Stockbridge MA

Specific Location

Once you actually find your way into the cemetery, the Rockwell family plot is toward the northwest corner surrounded by a hedge.

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James Fenimore Cooper

Posted in Christ Churchyard (NY) with tags , on July 20, 2015 by Cade

cooper1September 15, 1789 – September 14, 1851

James Fenimore Cooper was one of the most popular American writers of the 19th century. His quasi-Romantic  writings tended toward the political especially in the sphere of Post-Revolutionary land rights and Native American relations. This is more than evident in his 5 novel series, the Leatherstocking Tales (which includes his masterwork, 1826’s The Last of the Mohicans.) Groundbreaking for the time, these stories were the first of their kind to feature Native American characters to the degree they did – for better AND worse. Aside from the adventures of Natty Bumppo and the Indians, Cooper also devoted a good amount of ink toward military history…specifically the U.S. Navy, in which he served as a young man. All in all, history and critics were, and remain, divided on Cooper’s style and content. Contemporaries like Balzac and Thoreau admired him. Mark Twain hated him. What are ya gonna do?

In the end, Cooper, like everyone else in this blog, died (just one day short of his 62nd birthday.) He lived out the last years of his life and was buried in Cooperstown, New York…a town founded by his father.

Burial

Christ Churchyard – Cooperstown NY

Specific Location

From the northern edge of the cemetery on Church St., there is an entire section filled with Cooperstown Coopers. James and his wife are in this section at the end of a small path leading from the chapel.

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Chester A. Arthur

Posted in Albany Rural Cemetery with tags , on July 13, 2015 by Cade

President Chester A. Arthur

October 5, 1829 – November 18, 1886

A relatively quiet cog in the post-civil war New York political machine, Chester A. Arthur was thrust into the U.S. Presidency when his predecessor, James Garfield, was assassinated in the first year of their administration. Arthur served out the single term in surprisingly successful fashion considering his general lack of public opinion prior to being nominated as Garfield’s  vice-president. Originally from Vermont, Arthur studied and practiced Law in New York before getting into politics. His rise through the New York Republican “Stalwarts” put him at odds with Garfield and the two were never close. In July of 1881, just months after inauguration, Garfield was shot. He would not die until September, thus creating a strained “who should be leading the country right now” kind of atmosphere for more than two months. Arthur officially became the 21st President on September 20th, 1881. His term in office focused – to the surprise of his fellow Stalwarts – on civil service reform, civil rights and naval reform. Health was an issue throughout his time in office and he eventually declined to seek renomination. Instead, he returned to New York City to practice law. That, too, seemed to take its toll as his chronic illness (a kidney disease) eventually caught up and he died of a massive cerebral hemorrhage about a year and a half after leaving office. Despite his brief stint as President, historians recall Arthur as an honest man of his word who exercised sound judgement during a period when scandal and corruption were all the rage.

Burial

Albany Rural Cemetery – Albany NY

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Specific Location

Section 24, Lot 8; Enter from the cemetery’s south gate. Continue going north through a sort of roundabout. Look for the small signs pointing toward Arthur’s grave and turn right at the intersection of Linden Ave. and Southridge Rd. Then take your first left and Arthur’s memorable gravesite will be visible on your right.

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Janis Joplin

Posted in Cremated with tags , , on July 8, 2015 by Cade

joplin1January 19, 1943 – October 4, 1970

“The Queen of Psychedelic Soul”

Janis Lyn Joplin worked her way through the 1960’s Haight-Ashbury scene with her Blues-influenced power-rock voice. Her love for Blues standards helped her make a name for herself in San Francisco and her native Texas. She was asked to join the psychedelic rock band Big Brother and Holding Company which, with Janis on lead vocals, collectively impressed the crowd at 1967’s Monterrey Pop Festival. Record labels came calling and Janis spent the next year on the road and in the studio with Big Brother. Audiences and critics couldn’t get enough of her unique power as a performer. Her public persona surpassed the band and she quickly went solo. During her brief time on top of the music world, she recorded dozens of songs including hits like “Me and Bobby McGee” and “Mercedes Benz.”

Joplin’s life was full of struggle and substance abuse. She was a free spirit with acne scars who would go to class barefoot and carry an autoharp. Naturally, those who deemed such things as ridiculous made fun of her. She “escaped” to California only to get caught up in drugs and Southern Comfort. Despite a brief stint of sobriety prior to her breakout, the addictions would eventually take their toll. While recording her 2nd album “Pearl” (named after a nickname those close to her used) Janis received a delivery of heroin that was said to be, unknown to her, 8 times stronger than that which her dealer normally sold. She shot it up in her hotel room at the Landmark Motor Hotel in Hollywood, bought a pack of cigarettes and returned to her room for the night. Eight people who used that heroin that weekend died of overdoses…including Janis Joplin. Like Jimi Hendrix a few months earlier, Janis punched her ticket as a bona fide member of the Forever 27 club.

Burial

Cremated – 6 days after her death, Janis was cremated at Westwood and her ashes were scattered over Stinson Beach in Marin County, CA.

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