I’m closing out my series on Sparkman/Hillcrest’s mausoleum with a study of the many examples of stained glass they have. So this post will be more pictures than words.
I would like to add that from what I’m able to tell, the mausoleum was built in the early 1940s. Not the 1960s as the woman who answered the phone at Sparkman/Hillcrest told me a few weeks ago. It’s possible the Sparkman family built onto what was already there in the 60s.
Some of them were created specifically for families, like these.
This glass was created for Corda William Boller, who lived from 1882 to 1944 and was a successful oil operator. The Boller family owns a niche at Sparkman/Hillcrest.
Dr. William Samuell was a prominent Dallas surgeon who lived from 1878 to 1937. According to Find a Grave, Dr. Samuell was first interred at Oakland Cemetery in Dallas. Later, his remains were moved to Sparkman/Hillcrest.
Insurance salesman William Jerome Hayes was only 33 when he died in 1955 from a heart problem. His stained glass window features a familiar Bible reference to the Good Shepherd.
Some of the stained glass is decidedly religious in theme. This one features the “Agony of Gethsemane” the night before the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Jesus prays while his disciples sleep in the Garden of Gethsemane.
This panel depicting the parable of the Good Samaritan also features four artistic subjects in the corners: music, painting, sculpture, and writing.
The grandest example of stained glass work is located as you come in the main entrance of the mausoleum in the George family memorial room against the back wall.
The stained glass was created to honor the life of Sudie Hancock George. A native of Kentucky born in 1857, her journey to Dallas was a circuitous one but when she did arrive, she made quite a mark.
Life of Sudie George
Sudie, who was related to Declaration of Independence signer John Hancock, married Henry George in 1882 in Louisville, Ky. At that time, he was a banker and a sheriff. Together, they had four children (two sons and two daughters). They later moved to Jennings, La.
Henry died not long after the move. Sudie and her children remained there operating a sugar and rice plantation before moving to Houston, Texas in 1908 and then on to Dallas in 1916. Sudie got involved in local organizations and joined the First Presbyterian Church of Dallas.
Sudie’s son Robert Bohannon “Dick” George prospered, making his fortune in Caterpillar heavy equipment dealerships. He was deeply devoted to Sudie as well. He tried to recreate much of the atmosphere of their Kentucky home in a place called Glad Acres for the family residence. He never married and had no children. Dick, Cleo (Sudie’s youngest daughter), and Sudie all lived at Glad Acres.
Like his mother, Dick was involved in many charitable causes. The principal interest in his life was helping sick and disabled children. He was president of the executive board of Children’s Hospital of Dallas. In 1961, the hospital was renamed the R. B. George and Miss Cleo George Memorial Hospital for his service to generations of sick children.
When Sudie died in 1942 at the age of 85, R.B. and other family members gave $100,000 for the construction of a chapel in her memory at the First Presbyterian Church. It is used today for weddings, concerts, and other special events.
Sudie was entombed in the Hillcrest Mausoleum. According to a source, Dick saw to it that every day a lily was placed on her sarcophagus. In his will, he set up two $50,000 trusts. Three fourths of the income from the first trust was to be used to provide flowers weekly for the family tomb and the remaining one fourth was to be used for the upkeep of Hillcrest. The other $50,000 trust fund was set up for the Sudie George Memorial Chapel’s upkeep and operation.
Dick George died at the age of 71 in 1956. He is entombed in the George family memorial room with his mother. Cleo, who married later that year to Morton McClure, died in 1991. But I couldn’t find where she is buried.
I don’t know who created the stained glass for the George family memorial room but it is quite a sight to behold.
There are a wide variety of styles of stained glass in the mausoleum. This one has a pane cut out of it for an air conditioning unit, which is rather sad to me to see.
There’s also a number of more modern looking pieces as well.
I like this one of the two deer.
This one has a lot of blues and violets in it.
This is just a sampling of what we saw the day we visited. There’s so much more I could share with you but it would overwhelm you.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this visit to Sparkman/Hillcrest Memorial Park. If you’re ever in Dallas, you should definitely take the time to visit. Make sure to save some time for the mausoleum, the treasures there are worth the time.