Deep in the Heart of Dallas, Texas: Stopping by Fort Worth’s Greenwood Memorial Park and Mausoleum

While Fort Worth is actually about 30 miles west of Dallas, many people consider the two as being very connected. Some people refer to it as the “Dallas/Fort Worth” area. So that’s why I’m including Greenwood Memorial Park & Mausoleum in this final post about our 2018 trip.

Greenwood’s Mausoleum features a number of indoor and outdoor courtyards.

On our way to Greenwood, we briefly stopped at Shannon Rose Hill Memorial Park to see only one grave. It’s the final resting place of Lee Harvey Oswald, the man who assassinated President John F. Kennedy and Dallas Police officer J.D. Tippit on November 22, 1963.

Oswald’s current marker is not the original. The first one had his full name and dates on it. That one was stolen by two teens in 1966. Police later found it and returned it to Oswald’s mother, who replaced the headstone with a much simpler marker. The story of what happened to that original marker (which still exists) is a worth reading.

Lee Harvey Oswald’s original marker at Shannon Rose Hill Memorial Park was stolen by two teens in 1966. I don’t know why someone left a golf ball on his grave.

History of Greenwood Memorial Park and Mausoleum

The story of how Greenwood came to be is a bit complicated. The original 196-acre cemetery was dedicated in 1909 and owned by William Bailey. The Bailey family still owns it today and added onto it when 130-acre Mount Olivet Cemetery was purchased some years after that.

The entrance has replicas of statues of the Four Horses from St. Mark’s Basilica in Venice. Unfortunately, we didn’t have time to stop and get a photo of them.

Find a Grave has about 65,000 burials/entombments recorded for Greenwood, although I am sure there are more than that.

On the day we visited, we limited our visit to the Mausoleum. The Greenwood Mausoleum by Harwell Hamilton Harris opened in 1961. It received an award of honor from the Texas Society of Architects. Artist Wilbert Verhelst created the artwork and fountains.

One of the entrances to the Mausoleum at Greenwood Memorial Park.

The Mausoleum at Greenwood has a similar overwhelming size of Dallas’ Sparkman-Hillcrest, with many hallways and courtyards. Because it was built in 1961, it has a definite mid-century feel to it. I prefer the style of older mausolea but it’s clear that a great deal of effort went into creating this one. It is not a gloomy or dark environment and features lot of light.

One of the Mausoleum’s outdoor courtyards.

Many of Greenwood’s courtyards feature fountains like this one.

Even the stained glass panels have a modern flair to them. This one features a lamb, a hand, and a dove merged together.

As is the case in many mausolea, Greenwood’s features niches for cremation ashes and space for full-body entombments.

The cremation containers inside the niches vary widely in style and shape.

One of the many hallways inside Greenwood’s Mausoleum.

So what made us want to stop at Greenwood? The main reason was to pay a visit to the final resting place of pianist Van Cliburn. He is arguably the most famous person entombed there.

Cliburn’s tomb is located in the Independence Chapel, Fort Worth’s first climate-controlled mausoleum chapel that was dedicated in 2010. It’s quite something to see when you walk into it.

The Mausoleum’s Independence Chapel holds life-size statues of the United States’ founding patriots and a 12-foot mosaic of the Great Seal of the United States.

Independence Chapel features the statues of several founding fathers, including Presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and John Adams. Other statues are of Benjamin Franklin, Patrick Henry, and Alexander Hamilton.

Statue of America’s first President, George Washington.

Birth of an Artist

Born on July 24, 1934 in Shreveport, La., Van Cliburn was the son of Rildia Bee O’Bryan Cliburn and Harvey Lavan Cliburn Sr. At age 3, Van started began taking piano lessons from his mother, who had studied under Arthur Friedheim, a pupil of Polish composer Franz Liszt. When Van was six, his father, who worked in the oil industry, moved the family to Kilgore, Texas.

It was soon apparent that Cliburn was an exceptionally gifted musician. At 12, he won a statewide piano competition, which led to his debut with the Houston Symphony Orchestra. He entered New York’s Juilliard School at age 17 and studied under Rosina Lhévinne, who trained him in the tradition of the great Russian romantics. At 20, Cliburn won the Leventritt Award and made his debut at Carnegie Hall.

The Texan Who Conquered Russia

But it was in April 1958 that Van Cliburn truly burst upon the world stage when he competed at the International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow. Cliburn’s performance at the competition finale of Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1 and Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 3 on April 13 earned him a standing ovation lasting eight minutes. The 23-year-old’s obvious affinity for Russian music endeared him to the Russian audience as well.

At the age of 23, Van Cliburn captured the hearts of Russians and American alike after winning the International Tchaikovsky Competition.

When it was time to announce the winner, the judges felt obliged to ask permission of Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev to give the first prize to an American. “Is he the best?” Khrushchev asked. “Yes.” “Then give him the prize!” Cliburn returned home to a ticker-tape parade in New York City, the only time such an honor has been given to a classical musician. The cover of Time magazine proclaimed him “The Texan Who Conquered Russia.”

Instant fame ignited a career that included many historical achievements: the first Grammy for classical music; the first classical album to go triple platinum; record-breaking concert ticket sales at venues such as New York’s Carnegie Hall and Madison Square Garden, Chicago’s Grant Park, and Los Angeles’ Hollywood Bowl. He performed for every U.S. President from Harry Truman to Barack Obama, along with royalty and heads of state from around the world.

Cliburn’s Death

Cliburn returned to the Soviet Union on several occasions and his performances there were usually recorded and even televised. As of the last International Tchaikovsky Competition (2019), Van Cliburn is still the only American to win the competition in piano. Interestingly, only two native-born Americans have won the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition in its 58 year history.

On August 27, 2012, Cliburn’s publicist announced that the pianist had advanced bone cancer. He died on February 27, 2013, at the age of 78. He was entombed in Greenwood Mausoleum’s Independence Chapel. His mother, Rilda, had already passed away in 1994. She is now entombed beside him.

Van Cliburn died of bone cancer in 2013.

After visiting Cliburn’s tomb, we spent a little more time walking around the Mausoleum. There are other famous folks entombed in the Mausoleum and outside in the cemetery. But we had plans to visit the stockyards in Fort Worth and see some other sites so we did not linger for long.

All in all, our visit to Dallas was wonderful. I would like to return at a time when it’s not over 100 degrees but it was still worth every minute. All the folks we met were kind and helpful. And we ate some of the best barbecue I’ve ever had!

I think a little piece of my own heart will remain in Dallas after this trip.

An angel from the Mausoleum at Greenwood Memorial Park.

Deep in the Heart of Dallas, Texas: Visiting Pioneer Cemetery, Part II

After a three-week break, I’m ready to tackle the rest of my visit to Pioneer Cemetery in Dallas, Texas.

Pioneer Cemetery is practically in the “front yard” of the Dallas Civic Center.

There’s a story I have to share about a woman buried at Pioneer. Her stone’s inscription is not very clear now due to erosion and time. But her story is too good not the share.

One of 13 children, Juliette Abbey Peak was born May 8, 1837 in Warsaw, Ky. In 1855, her family settled in East Dallas. Her father, Colonel Jefferson Peak, later developed his farm and platted streets, creating lots for other settlers coming to Dallas. Peak, Worth, Junius, Carroll, Flora, Harwood, Field, and Victor Streets were named for Peak family members.

The Peak family was key to the development of the Christian Church in Dallas and Fort Worth. The Dallas Peaks were founding members of the first protestant church in Dallas, which led to the founding of Central Christian Church and East Dallas Christian Church.

Only 23, Juliette Fowler was pregnant with her second child when she was widowed.

A Beautiful Bride

Beautiful and kind, Juliette was Dallas’ first May Queen. She married attorney Archibald Young Fowler in 1857. Their children, Ada and A.Y. Jr., both died as infants. Her husband died from wounds sustained in an argument with the Tarrant County sheriff. You can read more about that here. Julia, who was pregnant with their second child at the time, became a widow at 23. She returned to Dallas and never remarried.

Julia spent the rest of her life focused on caring for others and doing what she could to help people in difficult circumstances. She adopted a young boy she found abandoned in her church. She erected cottages in Chautauqua so young female teachers from Texas could rest and recharge. She cared for her aging parents, all while envisioning and researching methods and treatments for a secure refuge for orphans and widows.

Juliette Fowler was buried next to her husband, Archibald Fowler. Their two children are buried in unmarked graves.

Juliette died at age 52 on June 4, 1889 in New York, seeking treatment for an ear infection. Her will designated $4,000 and 15.5 acres of land in East Dallas to build a home for orphans and widows. Through this act of benevolence, she became known as Dallas’ first major philanthropist. Juliette Fowler Communities, which includes a senior living community and transitional housing for young girls, is still going strong today.

A Street Legacy

The spiffy new marker for the Rev. William Ceiton Young caught my attention. I am thinking he either did not have a marker placed when he died or if there was one, it was damaged so it was replaced by this one.

Rev. Young’s burial at Pioneer is not surprising. His Masonic ties ran deep in Arkansas before he even arrived in Dallas. He served as Master of Tannehill Lodge from 1870 to 1871. He served as Chaplain of the Lodge in 1867, 1868, 1888, and 1889. He continued his Masonic service by serving as High priest of Dallas Chapter No. 47 in 1868, 1873, and 1886. Two of his sons would also become active Masons.

Rev. Young named one of Dallas’ streets after his mother, Marilla.

A native of Trigg County, Ky. born on August 7, 1827, Rev. Young entered the Methodist ministry in early 1849 and was a member of the Memphis Conference for three years. From 1852 to 1865, he was pastor of five different churches in Arkansas and three in Louisiana. He served as a Missionary Chaplain to the Arkansas Confederate Cavalry as well.

Rev. Young married Mary Pipkin in Arkansas in 1857. They moved to Dallas in 1865. He served one term as a Dallas County District Clerk (1867-1868) and was a three-term alderman for the Fourth Ward, which included the Young’s home (called The Cedars) during he 1870s.

During his time as Alderman, Rev. Young was tasked with naming many streets in the Fourth Ward. For example, he named Marilla Street after his mother, Canton Street after his birthplace in Kentucky, Cadiz Street after the Trigg County seat, Harwood Street after the Dallas County clerk and his Masonic Brother Alexander Harwood, and Akard Street after his Masonic Brother W.C.C. Akard.

The Rev. Young died at the age of 93 in 1921.

Rev. Young died in 1921 at age 93. It’s fitting that Pioneer Cemetery is located near the intersection of Marilla and Young Streets.

Deaths of Lillie and Alma Young

As you’ve learned from reading this blog, couples often had large families in prior centuries but many of these children did not survive. Rev. Young and Mary had several children during their marriage but many did not live long lives. Sadly, in 1885, the Youngs lost a son and a daughter, Alma and Lillie.

Alma Young was only 23 when he died of “congestive fever” in 1885. (Photo source: Dallas Daily Herald, June 12, 1885)

Alma Young was the second child, born in 1861. According to his obituary, Alma was working at a grocery store at the time of his death. Then 23, he had previously worked at the Dallas Herald. On the evening of June 10, 1885, Alma came home from work complaining of a sore throat. He grew worse through the night and died the next day. The diagnosis was “congestive fever”, which was a term used for malaria at the time.

Lillie, age 15, died a few months later on Sept. 19. Her obituary only says that she died suddenly but not the cause. It also noted rather melodramatically:

The sensation among her young associates has been most marked, and with common accord, they exclaim, “If Lillie has gone, how soon may we follow!”

Siblings Alma and Lillie Young share a white bronze marker.

The Youngs purchased a single white bronze marker for Alma and Lillie, the only one in Pioneer Cemetery. It has a silver color to it, which I don’t often see because usually they have a greenish gray color.

The cause of Lillie Young’s death is not known but it was sudden.

Life of John J. Eakins

The only monument with a statue in Pioneer Cemetery is located in the Eakins family plot. It represents the lives of John J. Eakins, his wife, Ophelia, and several of their children.

Born in Henderson Co., Ky. in 1822, John J. Eakins came to Dallas in 1849 after serving as a captain in the Mexican War (1847-1848). He married Ophelia Crutchfield, a fellow Kentucky native, in 1850. According to Ophelia’s obituary, they had eight children together.

The Eakins plot features the only monument with a statue in Pioneer Cemetery.

Eakins is possibly best known for selling 60 acres of land to the City of Dallas in exchange for $600 (some articles say he donated it). The land became what is known today as Old City Park or Dallas Heritage Village.

The park was originally designed to be an “aesthetic, driving park” where Dallas residents could drive their carriages while enjoying fresh air and scenery. In other words, it was a place to see and being seen. Later, City Park housed Dallas’ first zoo.

John J. Eakins was a Mason, ensuring his place in the Masonic burial ground that is now part of Pioneer Cemetery.

I did find it interesting that when reviewing a timeline of City Park’s history, I learned that twice it was suggested that it be named Eakins Park. Both times it was rejected, first in 1887 after John Eakins died and again in 1902.

The names of five of John and Ophelia’s children who died in childhood are all listed on the monument. I’m not sure which ones are actually buried in the plot.

By the time Ophelia died in 1903 at the age of 72, she had outlived all of her children save one, son Edwin. Curiously, her name is not inscribed on the monument but her obituary notes that she was to be buried there. Edwin died in 1914 and is also buried in the plot but his name is not on the monument either, although his death certificate states that he was buried there as well.

A Final Note

I did want to share that at the time we visited Pioneer Cemetery in July 2018, we saw this large monument (pictured below) erected by the United Daughters of the Confederacy in 1896 to honor the Texas Confederate dead. Many men buried at Pioneer served in the Confederate Army during the Civil War. The monument, designed by Frank Teich and installed in Old City Park in 1897, was moved to Pioneer Cemetery in 1961.

The central obelisk is 60 feet tall with a Confederate soldier at the top. Four Confederate figures (Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson, Albert Sidney Johnston, and Jefferson Davis) are at each corner. All of the figures are 19 feet tall.

I learned this week that efforts to have it removed had been underway for some time. The work to dismantle and remove it began in June 2020. It is now being stored at Hensley Field, part of the Grand Prairie Armed Forces Reserve Complex and the site of the former Dallas Naval Air Station.

We did visit one other cemetery while we were in Dallas, Greenwood Memorial Park and Mausoleum. I’ll be writing about it next time.

Ophelia Eakins’ name is not inscribed on the family monument.

Deep in the Heart of Dallas, Texas: Visiting Pioneer Cemetery, Part I

This week starts a new series on what is most likely Dallas’ oldest burial ground, Pioneer Cemetery. It has a long history that has some holes in it that would take more time than this blog allows to share. Basically, it’s thought to be the combination of four different cemeteries that includes burials of Masons and IOOF (Independent Order of Odd Fellows) members. If you want the full story, this article does a good job of explaining it.

Pioneer Cemetery is located in downtown Dallas next to the Dallas Convention Center, a bustling hub of activity before COVID hit. But when it was first created, it was situated a bit above town and away from all the action. Makes sense for a cemetery. I’m sure they didn’t expect Dallas to grow the way it did.

View of Pioneer Cemetery with office buildings in the background.

Situated on a handful of acres, there are about 425 graves recorded on Find a Grave. I’m sure there are many more unmarked. The first burials were thought to have taken place in the 1840s. Four Dallas mayors, six doctors, and a number of elected officials are buried there.

Three Times a Mayor

The man who served as mayor of Dallas three times has a stone you might easily walk by if it didn’t have a plaque indicating his importance to the city.

Born in Lancaster, S.C. in 1816, John McClanahan Crockett’s road to Dallas was a circuitous one. He attended Franklin Academy in Lancaster, entered the mercantile business in Camden, S.C., then moved to Obion County, Tenn. in 1836 to be partner in a general store. In Camden, he married Catherine “Katie” W. Polk on March
17, 1837. He began reading law in 1841 and received a license to practice in 1844.

It wasn’t until 1848 that Crockett and Katie made it to Dallas, where John’s brother-in-law, William H. Hord, was a county judge. Crockett opened a law practice and served as deputy county clerk his first there.

Three-time mayor of Dallas John M. Crockett was a South Carolina native before moving to Tennessee then Dallas.

In 1851, Crockett became state representative from the Dallas area. He was a law partner of John Jay Good in the first half of the 1850s. Remember that name for later. He was also first master of Tannehill Masonic Lodge in Dallas, chartered on June 24, 1850.

Crockett was elected as the second mayor of Dallas in 1857, serving for three non-consecutive terms (second, fifth and eighth). His last was from 1865 to 1866. In between terms, he served as lieutenant governor from 1861 to 1863. There was no mayor of Dallas during the Civil War.

John M. Crockett’s humble grave marker has clearly been repaired a few times. His prominence as a Mason likely contributed to why he’s buried in Pioneer Cemetery, which contains part of an earlier Masonic burial ground.

After the Civil War, Crockett incorporated the Dallas Grain Elevator and Flouring Company in 1872. In 1875, he became a charter member of the executive committee of the Dallas Pioneers Association. He and Katie had no children.

Catherine “Katie” Polk Crockett’s gravestone spells her name with a “K” instead of a “C”.

Catherine died in 1880 at the age of 62 and John M. Crockett passed away on August 4, 1887 at the age of 70. Because of Crockett’s early prominence as a highly-positioned Mason, his burial site at Pioneer makes sense.

The 18th Mayor of Dallas

By contrast, the marker for Dallas’ 18th mayor John Jay Good is much grander and actually says quite a bit about the man it was made for. In fact, decoding it was a fun task I’ll discuss in a moment.

Earlier I mentioned John Crockett’s law partner John J. Good. Several years after Crockett’s last term as mayor, Good would step into that role. Like Crockett, Good was not a native Texan. Born in Mississippi in 1827, Good attended Cumberland University in Lebanon, Tenn., and read law in Columbus, Miss., before his admittance to the bar in 1849. He practiced law in Marion County, Ala., while working  on his father’s farm before 1851, when he headed to Texas to settle in Dallas. Good married Susan Anna Floyd on July 25, 1854 and they had six children that lived to adulthood.

Dallas Mayor John Good’s monument chronicles his fraternal affiliations well.

In 1859, Good was appointed an official visitor to the United States Military Academy at West Point, but with the outbreak of the Civil War he organized a Confederate artillery battery. He fought as a captain with Benjamin McCulloch’s brigade at Elkhorn and was wounded. Good was then appointed presiding judge of the Confederate military courts of Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia, with the rank of colonel.

After the war, Good was elected judge of the 16th Judicial District (Dallas) but was removed by Gen. Philip Sheridan as an “impediment to Reconstruction.” Good practiced law in Dallas and in 1880 he was elected mayor.

In the last few months of his life, Good traveled to other climates in hopes of improving his health. He died on Sept. 17, 1882 at the age of 55. His beloved Susan died in 1912 at the age of 72. While there is a memorial marker for her beside her husband’s monument, she is actually buried in Dallas’ Grove Hill Cemetery.

Deconstructing a Monument

As I mentioned earlier, John Good’s monument is an especially nice example of a combination of symbols and inscriptions worth picking apart. At the top of is the draped urn, a common enough symbol. It is believed by some to mean that the soul has departed the shrouded body for its trip to heaven. Some believe the shroud is the last barrier between this world and the next.

On the sides, you can see two inverted torches, symbolizing life in the next realm or a life extinguished.

Mayor John J. Good’s monument features two inverted torches, symbolizing life in the next realm or a life extinguished.

At the base of the marker, below Good’s name and dates, you can see the three rings of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows (IOOF). The FLT represents Faith, Love, and Truth.

The inscription and symbol at the top of John Good’s monument spell out his involvement in the Knights Templar, a fraternal organization tied to the Masons.

In the picture above, you can see the Knights Templar (who were affiliated with the Masons) group that Good served as commander of in Dallas. Below it is a Knights Templar symbol, complete with the Latin motto of In hoc signo vinces, which means “In this sign thou shalt conquer”.

From the newspaper article I found concerning Good’s funeral rites, the Knights Templar were in charge so I am thinking his affiliation with them was higher than that of the IOOF. Because parts of Pioneer Cemetery were for both IOOF and the Masonic burials, this would be the place for him to be buried.

Mark of a Craftsman

I want to point out one more thing about John Good’s monument. At the base below “Good”, you can see the name of the person who provided it, S.B. Hanway. When I was photographing it, I knew I had seen that name somewhere before.

Samuel B. Hanway was a well-regarded monument dealer in Dallas in the late 1800s.

It wasn’t until recently that I figured out where I had seen it. Samuel B. Hanway is buried at Greenwood Cemetery, which we had visited a few days before. As it turns out, Hanway was a native of Ohio who had done business in Kansas in the monument trade before ending up in Dallas for the last 30 years of his life. He made quite a name for himself in that business. John J. Good’s monument is a great example of his work.

Next time, I’ll have more stories from Pioneer Cemetery.

Canadian native Phoebe Davis died at the age of 16. Her parents, Joseph and Martha, are buried at Dallas’ Greenwood Cemetery but Phoebe’s name is also on the large family marker at that cemetery as well.

Deep in the Heart of Dallas, Texas: Exploring Sparkman/Hillcrest Memorial Park (Mausoleum), Part IV

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.

I think the dog is a Corgi.

This one could use a little TLC.

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.

C. William Boller’s stained glass brings to mind the Bible verse Matthew 7:7: “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.”

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.

Dr. William Samuell’s stained glass window features an angel bearing a bow of jewels. Perhaps a Heavenly reward?

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.

“The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want…” comes from Psalm 23:1.

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.

The Agony of Gethsemane features Jesus on the night before His death on the cross.

This panel depicting the parable of the Good Samaritan also features four artistic subjects in the corners: music, painting, sculpture, and writing.

The parable of the Good Samaritan comes from Luke 10:33.

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.

Originally from Kentucky, Sudie George was active in Dallas community groups and her church.

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.

The Sudie George Memorial Chapel at the First Presbyterian Church of Dallas is used for weddings and other special events. (Photo source: T. Bradford Willis)

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.

Sudie George’s son, Dick George, provided funds for the upkeep of the Hillcrest Mausoleum.

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.

A flock of geese flies over a fisherman.

This one also features a fishing scene of sorts.

I call this one the Lily Lady.

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.



Deep in the Heart of Dallas, Texas: Exploring Sparkman/Hillcrest Memorial Park (Mausoleum), Part III

The moment you’ve been waiting for is here! I’m going INSIDE the mausoleum at Sparkman/Hillcrest Memorial Park. This post is longer than usual but trust me, it’s worth it.

I wish I could tell you exactly when the mausoleum was built, who the architect was, and an estimate on how many people are entombed within it, but I don’t know. When I called to ask, the woman who answered the phone could only say she knew it was built in the early 1960s and didn’t know who the architect was. That was it.

Front entrance of the mausoleum of Sparkman/Hillcrest Memorial Park.


Longer view of the Sparkman/Hillcrest Mausoleum.

Once you walk inside, it can feel a bit overwhelming. The main entrance opens into a high-ceilinged hall.

The grand hall at the entrance to the mausoleum is encircled by small individual family grottoes.

With one long main hall, the mausoleum has a gazillion smaller halls that extend off of it. The only other person we saw the entire time we were there was a member of the cleaning crew who was mopping the floor. Otherwise, it was eerily quiet.

Fortunately, I knew where to go in order to find the first person I was looking for. We were just two of the scores of people who take the same route to the Saint Mathew hall to visit his final resting place.

Birth of a Baseball Legend

Born on Oct. 20, 1931 in Spavinaw, Okla., Mickey “The Mick” Charles Mantle would become a beloved yet controversial figure in American baseball. A man of humble origins, Mantle’s prowess on the ball field wowed millions. Some consider him the greatest switch hitter in baseball history. At the same time, his personal life included much turmoil.

Mantle began his professional baseball career in Kansas with the semi-professional Baxter Springs Whiz Kids. After graduating from high school, Mantle signed a minor league contract and was assigned to the Yankees’ Class-D Independence Yankees of the Kansas–Oklahoma–Missouri League, where he played shortstop.

Mickey Mantle was a working class kid. His father, Elven “Mutt” Mantle, worked in lead and zinc mines in Comanche, Okla.

Mantle was invited to the Yankees instructional camp before the 1951 season, becoming a right fielder. In the second game of the 1951 World Series, he was injured while racing for a ball and tripped over an exposed drain pipe. This was the first of numerous injuries that plagued his 18-year career with the Yankees, playing the rest of his career with a torn ACL in an era when such surgeries to repair them weren’t done the way they are routinely done now.

“Favorite Summer”

Over the next years, Mantle’s star would rise as a Yankee, the only MLB team he ever played for. He had his breakout season in 1956, which he described as his “favorite summer.” He had a major league-leading .353 batting average, 52 home runs, and 130 runs batted in (RBIs). He brought home both the Triple Crown and first of three MLB Most Valuable Player Awards.

On January 16, 1961, Mantle became the highest-paid player in baseball by signing a $75,000 (equivalent to $640,000 in 2019) contract.

Mantle announced his retirement at the age of 37 on March 1, 1969. He gave a farewell speech on Mickey Mantle Day, which was June 8, 1969, in Yankee Stadium.

Two of Mantle’s sons are interred with him and his wife in the mausoleum.

Personal Struggles

Mantle married Merlyn Johnson in Oklahoma in 1951 and together they had four sons. While the media did not report on his many affairs at the time, Mantle was notorious for his dalliances. He was also an alcoholic, an affliction shared by his wife and three of his sons.

After Merlyn and his sons sought treatment, they urged Mantle to do the same. He checked into the Betty Ford Clinic on January 7, 1994. Although he received a liver transplant at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas, on June 8, 1995, Mantle died on August 13, 1995. He was 63 years old. Despite the fact he and Merlyn had been estranged for years, they never divorced and she was with him at the end.

Two of Mantle’s sons are also entombed with him and Merlyn, who died in 2009 at the age of 77. Billy Mantle, who suffered from Hodgkin’s Disease, died at the age of 34 in 1996. Mickey Jr. died in 2000 at the age of 47.

Many people leave mementos for Mickey Mantle at the foot of his family’s tomb.

Mantle’s tomb is located in the only area in the entire mausoleum that is fully air conditioned, which appears to be a more modern section. All I know is that it was a welcome relief after the rather stagnant air in the rest of the building.

Located in the same blessedly cool air as Mantle is the tomb of another well-known person but her distinction is not from baseball. However, I’m sure the founder of Mary Kay Cosmetics had to keep cool under pressure while making her company world famous.

A Start in Sales

Mary Kathlyn (Mary Kay) Wagner was born in Hot Wells, Texas in 1918 to  Edward Alexander and Lula Vember Hastings Wagner. At 17, Mary Kay married Ben Rogers and they had three children. While Ben served in World War II, she got her first taste of the arena she would eventually master when she sold books door-to-door.

After her husband’s return in 1945, they divorced. Over the next two decades, she worked in sales. Irritated when passed over for a promotion in favor of a man that she had trained, Mary Kay retired in 1963. She wrote up a business plan for her ideal company, and in the summer of 1963, Mary Kay and her new husband, George Hellenbeck, planned to start Mary Kay Cosmetics.

Mary Kay Ash founded her business in 1963 at the age of 45.

However, one month before Mary Kay and George started Beauty by Mary Kay, as the company was then called, George died of a heart attack. A month after George’s death, with a $5,000 investment from her oldest son, she started Mary Kay Cosmetics. She copied the same “house party” model used by Stanley (who she had worked for), Tupperware, and others. It was a tremendous success.

Going Public

In 1968, Mary Kay married Melville Ash. That same year, she and her partners took the multi-level marketing company public. In 1985, the company’s board decided to take the company private again. Ash remained active in Mary Kay Cosmetics, Inc. until suffering a stroke in 1996.

As many know, Mary Kay Ash loved the color pink and it was a key theme in her company, from the product packaging to the Cadillacs she gave away to top-earning consultants each year.

Mary Kay Ash is entombed beside her third husband, Melville Ash, who died in 1980.

Son Richard Rogers was named CEO of Mary Kay Cosmetics, Inc. in 2001. At the time of Ash’s death in 2001, Mary Kay Cosmetics had over 800,000 representatives in 37 countries, with total annual sales over $200 million. As of 2014, Mary Kay Cosmetics had more than 3 million consultants worldwide and wholesale volume in excess of three billion.

Another trailblazing woman is entombed in Sparkman/Hillcrest’s mausoleum, paving the way for other women in a male-dominated career field. But most people only know her from a photograph of the back of her head.

Blazing a Judicial Trail

Born in 1896 in Baltimore, Md., Sarah Augusta Tilghman (later Hughes) stood only five feet one inches tall. But Hughes let nothing get in her way, be it academics or excelling in sports. After graduating from Western High School, she attended Goucher College, an all women’s college in central Baltimore.

Hughes taught science at Salem Academy in North Carolina for several years. In 1919, she moved to Washington, D.C. to attend The George Washington University Law School. She went to classes at night and during the day, worked as a police officer. Amazingly, she lived in a tent home near the Potomac River and commuted to the campus by canoe each evening. She graduated in 1922.

A 1972 photo of Judge Sarah Hughes. She was the only female judge appointed by President John F. Kennedy, the first female federal judge in Texas, and the third female to serve in the federal judiciary. (Photo source: State Bar of Texas)

Hughes moved to Dallas in 1922 with her husband, George Ernest Hughes, whom she met in law school. While George quickly found employment, Sarah struggled since law firms generally did not regard women as qualified at the time. The small firm of Priest, Herndon, and Ledbetter gave her a rent-free space and referred some cases to her in exchange for her services as a receptionist.

The First of Many Firsts

But Hughes was preparing for broader horizons. After practicing law for eight years in Dallas, she got involved in politics, first being elected in 1930 to three terms in the Texas House of Representatives as a Democrat. In 1935, Hughes accepted an appointment as a state judge from Governor James Allred for the Fourteenth District Court in Dallas. In doing so, she became the state’s first female district judge. In 1936, she was elected to the same post. She was re-elected six more times and remained in that post until 1961.

Judge Hughes received a recess appointment from President John F. Kennedy on October 5, 1961 to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas to a new seat. She was nominated to the same position by President Kennedy on January 15, 1962. She was the only female judge appointed by President Kennedy, the first female federal judge in Texas, and the third female to serve in the federal judiciary.

It almost didn’t happen. Her friendship with Vice President Lyndon Johnson helped, having campaigned for him in the past. At age 65, many (including Kennedy and his brother, Robert) thought Judge Hughes was too old for the job.

That’s Judge Sarah Hughes giving Vice President Lyndon Johnson the oath of office while Jacqueline Kennedy stood by him, still in shock.

On Nov. 22, 1963, Judge Hughes was thrown fully into the spotlight when President Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas. Amid the ensuing chaos, she was summoned to administer the oath of office to Vice President Johnson, who chose her for the task. Hughes was driven to Love Field, while Air Force One was held up just for her.

In the photo above, you can only see the back of Judge Hughes’ head. But to me, this photo taken by Cecil W. Stoughton has always been a powerful picture of what took place on that terrible day. In that horrible moment, Hughes became the only woman to swear in a president – and the only Texan.

Hughes retired from the active federal bench in 1975, although she continued to work as a judge with senior status until 1982. She remained a close friend of Lyndon Johnson and his family, participating in his inauguration in 1965 and in the dedication of the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum.

Judge Sarah Hughes and her husband, George, are entombed in the Sanctuary of Adoration.

In 1982, Hughes suffered a debilitating stroke which confined her to a nursing home in Dallas. She died three years later on April 23, 1985. But she will never be forgotten for pushing forward into a world where she was often told “no” with her intelligence, determination, and talent.

Next time, I’ll be showing off some of the amazing stained glass at Sparkman/Hillcrest’s mausoleum in Part IV.

A pair of praying hands we found in the basement level of Sparkman/Hillcrest’s mausoleum.

Deep in the Heart of Dallas, Texas: Exploring Sparkman Hillcrest Memorial Park, Part II

I’m still outside at Sparkman/Hillcrest Memorial Park in Dallas, Texas. Not in the mausoleum yet. I’ll go in there in Part III. There’s still a few stops I need to make outside.

The 88 acres of Sparkman/Hillcrest is well tended by the landscaping crew.

Sparkman/Hillcress has dozens of little grottoes surrounded by shrubbery that contain family plots, enabling a sense of privacy. I imagine these are comparably more expensive as well.

One of these grottoes contains the grave of a famous actress whom I had not expected to encounter in a Dallas cemetery when I did my initial research. I’m speaking of British-born actress Greer Garson.

Late Start to a Dazzling Career

Born on Sept. 29, 1904 in Manor Park, England, Eileen Evelyn Greer Garson was the only child of Nina Greer Garson and George Garson. The name Greer is a contraction of MacGregor, another family name. She attended King’s College in London and did post-graduate studies at the University of Grenoble in France where she earned degrees in French and 18th-century literature.

I was surprised to learn that due to her devotion to her studies, Garson’s acting experiences didn’t come until her late 20s. Her early professional appearances were on stage, starting at the Birmingham Repertory Theater in January 1932, when she was 27 years old.

In Jane Austen’s book Pride and Prejudice, the character of Elizabeth Bennett is 20 years old. Garson was 34 at the time she played the role in the 1940 movie adaptation.

Garson was signed to a contract with MGM in 1937, but didn’t start work on her first film, Goodbye, Mr. Chips, until late 1938. She received her first Oscar nomination for the role but lost to Vivien Leigh for Gone with the Wind.  She received critical acclaim the next year for her role as Elizabeth Bennett in the 1940 film Pride and Prejudice.

Garson received a record seven Academy Award nominations and starred in six Best Picture nominees, most often paired with actor Walter Pidgeon. She is best known for the 1942 movie for which she won her only Academy Award, Mrs. Miniver. Her acceptance speech clocked in at five minutes and 30 seconds, the longest Oscar acceptance speech according to the Guinness Book of World Records and led to the Academy instilling a time limit.

Third Time’s the Charm

Garson was married three times. Actor Peter Lawford introduced Garson to her third husband, millionaire Texas oilman and horse breeder E.E. “Buddy” Fogelson, when she was starring with Lawford in the 1948 movie Julia Misbehaves. The couple married in 1949.

After her MGM contract expired in 1954, Garson only made a handful of films. In 1967, the couple retired to their Forked Lightning Ranch in New Mexico. They purchased the U.S. Hall of Fame champion thoroughbred Ack Ack from the estate of Harry F. Guggenheim in 1971 and were successful as breeders.

Buddy Fogelson died in 1987 after suffering from Parkinson’s Disease for five years.

The Fogelsons maintained a home in Dallas, where Garson funded the Greer Garson Theater facility at Southern Methodist University (SMU). She founded a permanent endowment for the Fogelson Honors Forum at Texas Christian University (TCU), Buddy’s alma mater, in nearby Fort Worth.

Greer Garson died at the age of 96 from heart failure.

Buddy passed away in 1987 after suffering from Parkinson’s Disease for five years. Garson lived her final years in a penthouse suite at the Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas, where she died from heart failure on April 6, 1996 at the age of 91.

Located near the front of the Sparkman/Hillcrest mausoleum is a small unpretentious marker you might not normally notice. But the man it was made for had a place in Dallas history not once but twice.

Henry Menasco Wade, one of 11 children, was born outside Dallas on Nov. 11, 1914. Shortly after graduating from the University of Texas at Austin in 1939, Wade joined the FBI as a special agent investigating espionage cases along the East Coast and in South America. During World War II, Wade served in the U.S. Navy, taking part in the invasions of the Philippines and Okinawa.

Man of the Court

In 1947, Wade joined the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office. He won election to the top job only four years later, a position he would hold for 36 years until his retirement in 1987. But it was in 1964 that he was thrust into the spotlight after President John F. Kennedy was assassinated just blocks from Wade’s office in the Dallas County Courthouse.

Wade lost the opportunity to try Lee Harvey Oswald for Kennedy’s murder when nightclub operator Jack Ruby shot Oswald only two days later. But Wade became known nationally for prosecuting Ruby for Oswald’s murder. Wade closely supervised the Ruby trial but appointed his assistan William Alexander to conduct the courtroom proceedings.

Wade and Alexander confronted Ruby’s lawyers, famed trial lawyer Melvin Belli and Texas counsellor Joe Tonahill, in a lengthy trial that concluded on March 14, 1964, with a verdict for Ruby of “guilty of murder with malice.”

Henry M. Wade was known as “Chief” to over 900 assistant district attorneys during his term as criminal district attorney of Dallas County.

The Wade in Roe v. Wade

Wade, as Dallas County District Attorney, was the named defendant when attorneys Sarah Weddington and Linda Coffee mounted a 1970 constitutional challenge to the Texas criminal statutes prohibiting doctors from performing abortions. Norma McCorvey (“Jane Roe”), a single woman, was signed up as the representative plaintiff.

The challenge sought both a declaratory judgment that the Texas criminal abortion statutes were unconstitutional on their face and an injunction restraining the defendant from enforcing the statutes. The lower court refused to grant Roe’s desired injunction but declared the criminal abortion statutes were void.

Both sides cross-appealed. The case worked its way through the appellate process, culminating in the Supreme Court’s landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that made abortion legal in the United States.

Henry Wade was the “Wade” in the famous Roe vs. Wade court case. He is buried with his wife, Yvonne.

Despite the loss of Roe v. Wade, Wade’s political career did not suffer. He continued to serve in office for an additional 14 years. In 1995, the Henry Wade Juvenile Justice Center was named in his honor. In 2000, shortly before his death from Parkinson’s Disease, Texas Lawyer magazine named him as one of the most influential lawyers of the 20th century.

The last person I’m going to feature outside at Sparkman/Hillcrest has a name you’re likely already familiar with but not the person behind it.

Man With a Sparkle

Born on September 5, 1901 in Shereshov, Russia, Morris Bernard Zale came to America as a child in 1908. In 1910, the family settled in Fort Worth, Texas. Due to financial difficulties, Zale dropped out of school following completion of the seventh grade.

Zale was introduced to the jewelry business by his uncle, Sam Kruger. In 1920, Zale managed Kruger Jewelry Store in Burkburnett before opening his own business in Graham in 1922. Two years later, Zale rejoined his uncle’s store in Wichita Falls, Texas. He became a partner with his uncle in the Zale Jewelry Corporation in 1924, opening the first Zales store at the corner of Eighth and Ohio.

Photograph of the first Zales store in Wichita Falls, Texas.

In 1925, Zale married Edna Lipshy. He and his brother-in-law Ben built the business together. They decided to go against the popular cash-only policy of jewelry retailing, offering credit to working-class customers and allowing payment in installments.

Following World War II, massive expansion took place, ultimately making Zales the world’s largest retail jeweler. Zales Jewelers moved its headquarters from Wichita Falls to Dallas in 1946. In 1957, Zales Jewelers opened its first store in a shopping center, a major shift from operating only in downtown locations.

Morris Zale with his wife, Edna Lipshy Zale. Together they had three children.

Morris Zale was also known for his philanthropy, financing an orphanage for young war victims in 1947 in Europe and supporting it for four decades. He started the Zale Foundation in 1951, which supported numerous charities and educational activities.

Zale gave up the company presidency to his brother-in-law Ben Lipshy in 1957 but continued to serve as chairman of the board of directors. Zale retired as chairman of the company in 1971.

Morris Zale is buried beside his wife, Edna, who passed away a year after he did in 1996.

Zale died on March 8, 1995 at the age of 93 due to complications from pneumonia. Edna passed away on Dec. 28, 1996 from bone cancer. Although she was very active in charitable activities, she preferred to let her husband and son, Donald, have the spotlight.

The Zales are buried beside their son Herschel, who died at the age of three in 1930 from a childhood illness.

Next time, I’ll be in the mausoleum at Sparkman/Hillcrest.

Deep in the Heart of Dallas, Texas: Exploring Sparkman Hillcrest Memorial Park Cemetery, Part I

It’s been a while since I’ve tackled a cemetery like Sparkman/Hillcrest Memorial Park Cemetery. But you can’t write about Dallas cemeteries without mentioning it. While we’d already spent a hot day in the Uptown Neighborhood visiting three different cemeteries, I knew I couldn’t leave Dallas without visiting Sparkman/Hillcrest. We actually went twice, once for the outside and another for the mausoleum. The latter was closed the first time we visited.

Sparkman/Hillcrest Memorial Park is located near Southern Methodist University.

Covering about 88 acres, Sparkman/Hillcrest is currently owned by Dignity Memorial, a large conglomerate operated by Houston-based Service Corporation International (SCI). Although it was founded in 1962, SCI didn’t introduce the Dignity Memorial Brand until 1999. As of 2015, they owned 1,435 funeral homes and 374 cemeteries in America. That’s a big chunk of the death care industry.

Information on the cemetery itself is spotty. In more than one place, I read that some of its graves date back to the 1850s but I didn’t see those. One source said the cemetery was created with land donated by William Barr Caruth, an early Dallas settler. The Caruth Pioneer Cemetery is located within Sparkman/Hillcrest near the front the cemetery but we didn’t know about it at the time.

A Gangster’s Funeral

A native of Jackson, Tenn., William Sparkman relocated his funeral home business to Dallas’ Belo mansion on Ross Avenue in 1926. I don’t know what year they sold it but the mansion is currently a wedding/event venue. The Sparkman funeral home is on the grounds of what used to be known as Hillcrest Cemetery now.

Designed in the Neo-classical revival style, the Belo Mansion was built in the late 1800s by Col. Alfred Horatio Belo, who founded the Dallas Morning News. The house was said to be constructed after the family home in Salem, N.C. (Photo source:

Even before gangster Clyde Barrow (of the infamous Bonnie and Clyde) died in 1934, his father had already asked the Sparkmans to handle Clyde’s funeral. He knew what was going to happen eventually. After Clyde died in a shootout with police, it was the Sparkman hearse that brought his body back to Dallas from Louisiana. Thousands came to see the criminal’s corpse. While Barrow is buried in another Dallas cemetery, his funeral put the Sparkman name on the map.

Most of the graves we saw were from the 1970s up so the styles were accordingly ore modern.

A Texas Sports Legend

One of the first graves I went hunting for was for a name even non-sports enthusiasts probably know. If you’re from Texas, it’s pretty much required knowledge. Dallas Cowboys football coach Tom Landry was the first coach the team had when it came into being in 1960. He is revered as a football coaching legend.

I’ve never been a huge NFL fan. But even I knew about the Dallas Cowboys/Pittsburgh Steelers rivalry during the 1970s. During out trip, we visited AT&T Stadium (built in 2009 to replace Texas Stadium) and took a tour. The giant statue of Landry that was placed at Texas Stadium in 2000 after Landry’s death is there.

Tom Landy’s statue at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas (about 18 miles west of Dallas) features his trademark fedora he wore to Cowboys games.

From 1966 to 1982, the Cowboys played in 12 NFL or NFC Championship games. They also appeared in 10 NFC Championship games in the 13-year span from 1970 to 1982. Landry led the Cowboys to three Super Bowl appearances in four years between 1975 and 1978, and five in nine years between 1970 and 1978. They won in 1972 and 1978.

But the Cowboys’ performance faltered in the 1980s. There was a great deal of fan outcry when Landry was fired by new team owner Jerry Jones before the 1989 season. Landry’s last work in professional football was as a “limited partner” of the San Antonio Riders of the World League in 1992.

Life Before Football

One thing I didn’t know about Tom Landry was that before he himself played pro football, he’d experienced some tough times. He interrupted his education at the Univ. of Texas at Austin after one semester to serve in the U.S. Army Air Corps (later known as the U.S. Air Force) during World War II. Landry was inspired to join  in honor of his brother Robert Landry, who enlisted after the attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941.

First Lieut. Tom Landry mostly flew the the B-17 Flying Fortress. It was the same plane is brother Robert flew. (Photo source: The Sports Drop)

While ferrying a B-17 over to England, Robert Landry’s plane went down over the North Atlantic. Several weeks passed before the Army was able to officially declare Robert Landry dead. While serving in the Army Air Corps, Tom Landry completed a combat tour of 30 missions, and survived a crash landing in Belgium after his bomber ran out of fuel.

After the war, Tom returned to college. He earned his master’s in industrial engineering in 1952. He’d spent a season with the New York Yankees (a former pro football team) in 1949, and when that conference collapsed, he moved on to the New York Giants. In total, he spent six years playing professional football before moving to coaching.

Tom Landry played pro football for six years before taking on coaching.

Landry died on Feb. 12, 2000 at the age of 75. His wife, Alicia, died 10 months later on Dec. 21, 2000 at the age of 70. They are buried beside each other. A large monument is behind them with a replica of the familiar fedora Landry was known to wear on the sidelines when he coached the Cowboys.

Tom Landry’s wife Alicia died 10 months after he did.

Career of a Controversial Ex-Senator

Until I began doing my research on who was buried at Sparkman/Hillcrest, I didn’t realize that Texas Senator John Tower was buried there. His plot is not too far from Tom Landry’s.

Born a preacher’s son in 1925 in Houston, John Tower served in World War II. He worked on the 1956 presidential campaign of Dwight D. Eisenhower. Tower lost Texas’s 1960 Senate election to Democratic Senator Lyndon B. Johnson. With the Democratic victory in the 1960 presidential election, Johnson vacated his Senate seat to become Vice President. In the 1961 special election to fill the vacancy caused by Johnson’s resignation, Tower narrowly defeated Democrat William A. Blakley. He won re-election in 1966, 1972, and 1978.

John Tower served several terms as a Republican senator for Texas.

In the 1960s, Tower was fairly conservative but that began to change in the 70s. Starting in 1976 with his support of Gerald Ford rather than Ronald Reagan in the 1976 Republican primaries, Tower began to alienate many fellow conservatives. He became less conservative over time, later voicing support for legal abortion and opposing President Reagan’s Strategic Defense Initiative in 1982.

Tower retired from the Senate in 1985 amidst allegations he’d acted as liaison for Robert Maxwell, a British publishing mogul and super-agent for Mossad, to the White House and to U.S. government operations. Tower served as chief negotiator of the Strategic Arms Reduction Talks with the Soviet Union and led the Tower Commission. The commission’s report was highly critical of the Reagan administration’s relations with Iran and the Contras.

In 1989, incoming President George H. W. Bush (also a Texan) chose Tower as his nominee for Secretary of Defense. In an almost unheard of move, his nomination was rejected by the Senate. The largest factors were concern about possible conflicts of interest and Tower’s personal life, in particular allegations of alcohol abuse and womanizing.

Tragic Plane Crash

On April 5, 1991, John Tower’s plane crashed while on approach for landing at Brunswick, Ga. The crash instantly killed everyone on board, including Tower and his middle daughter, Marian, the astronaut Sonny Carter, and 20 others. I visited Sonny Carter’s grave at Gainesville, Ga.’s Alta Vista Cemetery some years ago, never expecting I would later visit two graves of his fellow passengers.

John Tower was one of 23 people who died in a plane crash on April 5, 1991. His daughter, Marian, was with him.

John Tower was 65 when he died and daughter Marian was only 35. Tower’s wife, Lou, died at the age of 81 in 2001. The thee are buried together at Sparkman/Hillcrest.

John Tower was the first Republican senator from Texas elected state-wide since Reconstruction.

Something Different

I’m going to close out this post with a monument that definitely stood out from the rest.

Born in Chicago in 1898, Welville Fred Vehon moved to Dallas with his family later in life. He owned a men’s clothing store. He died at the age of 67 in 1965.

Welville Fred Vehon’s marker at Sparkman/Hillcrest definitely stands out. (Photo source: Chris Rylands)

I can only surmise that perhaps the statue on top of the marker is based on an original done by someone else. The only thing I could find out about it was that the statue was originally a nude but the cemetery would not allow it until discreet draping was added.

Is Veshon’s marker’s statue a copy of a work by an artist? I don’t know.

I’ll be back next time with more from Sparkman/Hillcrest Memorial Park.

Photo by my husband, Chris Rylands.





Deep in the Heart of Dallas, Texas: A Quick Jaunt Through Temple Emanu-El Cemetery

I mentioned last week that I didn’t spend much time at Old Calvary Cemetery in Dallas due to the rising temperature that day. The same holds true for next door’s Temple Emanu-El Cemetery. But I spent even less time there for another reason that has never happened to me before.

When I walked through from Old Calvary Cemetery (there’s a paved path between the two), it wasn’t long before two dogs came running toward me barking angrily. I was frozen in place and fearing the worst when a voice called for them to stop. Thankfully, they did. It turns out one of the caretakers had brought his dogs with him to work. While the caretaker was very nice, the dogs weren’t nearly as friendly.

Front gates of Temple Emanu-El Cemetery in Dallas, Texas. Since I entered through the connecting path from Old Calvary Cemetery, I did not see it until I was leaving.

The caretaker assured me they wouldn’t hurt me but I was not so sure how they’d behave if I encountered them again when he was busy doing his work elsewhere in the cemetery. So I didn’t explore much after that. What you’ll see are the few pictures I took there that day.

A helpful sign explained the history of Temple Emanu-El Cemetery’s history. As was the case of Old Calvary Hill being the second oldest Catholic Cemetery in Dallas, Temple Emanu-El is the second oldest known Jewish burial ground in the city. Find a Grave has about 3,250 memorials recorded for this cemetery.

This sign explains the detailed history of the first Jewish cemetery in Dallas and how the second, Temple Emanu-El, came to be.

When a young Jewish man died in Dallas in June 1872 who was a stranger to the city, the small Jewish community of Dallas felt it was their responsibility to give him a proper burial. A group of 11 young men formed the Hebrew Benevolent Society and secured land for a burial plot on Akard Street from Mayor Henry Ervay. There were already cemeteries there for the Odd Fellows and Masons so it made sense at the time.

When plans were made in 1956 to build the Dallas Civic Center on the property where these graves were located, they were moved to Temple Emanu-El Cemetery.

Birth of a New Jewish Cemetery

The congregation of Temple Emanu-El was established around 1875 and met at their temple on Commerce Street that opened in 1876. The majority of members were Eastern European immigrants. In 1884, the trustees of Temple Emanu-El purchased land from the John Cole family. The first burials were those of Russian immigrants Aaron L. Levy and Jacob Rosenthal.

Temple Emanu-El Cemetery is a well-maintained burial ground.

I didn’t learn until this week that one of the mausoleums I photographed held the remains of a Dallas businessman known more for his passion for baseball than his success as a businessman. Much of his delightful story I found in an article written by his granddaughter May Sebel.

The Biggest Baseball Fan in Dallas

Born in 1878 in Buffalo, Texas, Hyman Pearlstone lived in Palestine, Texas with his family. He operated a successful wholesale grocery business and served on a number of corporate boards. But the true love of his life (after his wife, Claire) was baseball.

Hyman coached the Palestine Elks and in 1905, he went to New Orleans on business. The Philadelphia Athletics (today known as the Oakland A’s) were staying at the same hotel when one of the players saw Hyman wearing an Elks pin. He introduced him to Doc Powers, catcher for the team. Hyman invited Doc to attend the theater with him that evening. Doc Powers told him that the A’s next spring training would be in Marlin, Texas, just down the road from Palestine. Doc invited Hyman to come watch the team.

Dallas businessman Hyman Pearlstone traveled with the Philadelphia A’s for a month every summer for 45 years. (Photo source:

The following year, at the hotel in Marlin, Hyman introduced himself to the legendary Connie Mack, who was manager, treasurer, and part owner of the Athletics. A longtime friendship began at that meeting.

Following spring training, Hyman received a large box from Connie Mack containing a baseball uniform, shoes, hat, and a glove. There was also a note from Mack inviting Hyman to spend his summer vacations traveling with the team. For Hyman, it was a dream come true!

For the next 45 years, Hyman spent one month of the summer doing just that. He would pitch to the team during practice in the early years, but later did some scouting and advised players on business matters. Hyman and Connie were guests of the Macks at every World Series, and this tradition continued even after Mack sold the team in 1955.

The Pearlstone family mausoleum holds the remains of Hyman, his wife, Claire, daughter, Helen Pearlstone Loeb, and her husband, Milton Loeb, and daughter Lorraine Pearlstone Budner.

When Hyman died in 1966, his baseball memorabilia was sent to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y. Hyman Pearlstone is the only known “civilian” to ever have traveled with a Major League Baseball team.

“God Called Thee Home”

One of the sweetest markers I have ever seen is this one for Gerald Cohn. I didn’t know whose grave it was when I photographed it because I did not see that his name and dates were on the back of the base under the “shell”. I found out later by looking at the surname of “Cohn” on the marker behind it on Find a Grave.

Gerald was the son of Leopold and Sarah Cohn.

Born on July 19, 1886, Gerald was the son of German-born Leopold and Sarah Baer Cohn. I believe Sarah was Leopold’s second wife because he is listed as a widower in the 1880 Census and was living with his two sons, Albert and Bernard. He married Sarah Baer in Dallas on Jan. 30, 1881. Newspapers from 1884 advertise his barber shop on the corner of Lamar and Main Streets.

Bernard died at the age of five on Jan. 19, 1882 and is also buried at Temple Emanu-El Cemetery. There is another stone for an infant daughter born to Leopold and Sarah, but the dates are blurry.

This photo of the back of Gerald Cohn’s grave marker comes from Find a Grave.

Gerald died on June 5, 1888, having lived a year, 10 months, and 17 days. I have seen a number of shell graves of this nature over the years, but this is the first time I’ve seen a lamb in the shell instead of a sleeping child. In this case, it is a lamb resting on an elegant cushion with tassels on the corners.

The epitaph “May they soul to bound to everlasting.” comes from Samuel 25:29 in the Old Testament of the Bible.

Leopold died in 1915 at the age of 65 and Sarah died in 1917 at the age of 59. I was unable to trace Albert after the 1910 Census.

Work of Art

I was heading to the back gate to find Chris in the rental car when an unusual marker caught my eye. It was definitely different than most of the markers I’d seen that entire day so I wandered over to get a better look.

Born in 1884, Alex Wesiberg was the son of Russian immigrants. Some records indicate he himself was born in Russia but others say he was born in Waco, Texas. He married Marie Kahn in New York in 1920. He was working as an attorney by that time. Together, Alex and Marie had three children.

At the time of Alex’s death in 1951 from a heart ailment, he was an attorney in his own firm, Thompson, Knight, Wright, Weisberg, and Simmons. His death notice indicates he’d not only been involved in city planning but had been head of the Dallas Art Association. That told me Alex likely had an eye for the unusual. I think his monument, which he shares with Marie, expresses that. She died on Nov. 5, 1979.

Attorney and art lover Alex Weisberg died in 1951 at the age of 66.

Temple Emanu-El has an Alex Weisberg Library so I am believing it was created in his memory.

Next time, I’ll be starting a new series at Dallas’ Sparkman Hillcrest Memorial Park.

Austrian immigrant Ascher Silberstein (1853-1909) was a successful cattle dealer and was also involved in banking. Ascher Silberstein Elementary School in the Dallas neighborhood of Pleasant Grove was named after him.



Deep in the Heart of Dallas, Texas: Taking a Stroll Through Old Calvary Cemetery

Located just across the street from Greenwood Cemetery is Old Calvary Cemetery. Some call it Old Calvary Hill Cemetery. But because there’s also a Calvary Hill Cemetery that came later, I’m staying with Old Calvary Cemetery.

I will tell you that we visited Old Calvary after spending over an hour at Greenwood when it was approaching 100 degrees. When it’s that hot, even a seasoned cemetery hopper like me starts to wilt. So I spent less time here than I normally would. Chris was in the car trying to cool off and re-hydrate.

There are two entrances for Calvary Cemetery, one on Hall Street and another on Campbell Street (the one pictured above).

Calvary Cemetery has two entrances. Because of construction taking place near the Hall Street gate (which was obscured by some orange cones), I entered through the Campbell Street gate.

Whereas Greenwood Cemetery was limited to Protestant burials, Calvary Cemetery was established for Catholic burials. It wasn’t the first cemetery for Dallas-area Catholics, however. That was La Reunion (also known as Fishtrap) Cemetery in West Dallas, a burial ground for French and Belgian immigrants who were part of the utopian La Reunion Colony founded in 1855. That cemetery is still intact and maintained by the City of Dallas.

Old Calvary Cemetery was established around 1878. It was the burial ground for immigrants mostly from France, Ireland, Italy, Germany, Poland, and Czechoslovakia, the European origins of settlers of that period. There are about 2,000 burials recorded for Old Calvary on Find a Grave.

By 1926, the Dallas Diocese had established the much larger Calvary Hill Cemetery north of the current Love Field Airport. As a result, there have been few burials at Old Calvary since 1945.

Birth of the Dallas Diocese

Because of the influx of immigrants coming into North Texas in the latter part of the 1800s, the statewide Diocese of Galveston was split and the Diocese of Dallas was created. The first bishop of Dallas, the Right Reverend Thomas Brennan, was consecrated in 1891. That’s the same year the unmarked cross (pictured below) at the center of Old Calvary’s Religious Circle was placed.

The grave marker of Father James Mulloy is in front of the larger cross in Old Calvary’s Religious Circle.

In the 1880s, St. Mary’s Orphanage was established in Oakcliff for needy orphans. Father John Moore was one of its first chaplains. He died of heart failure at the age of 61 in 1895.

Rev. John Moore was one of the first chaplains at St. Mary’s Orphanage in Oakcliff.

The Heart of Father Hartnett

Father Jeffrey A. Hartnett was a native of Ireland but came to America at age four with his family. He attended St. Mary’s College in Kansas and St. Mary’s Seminary in Cincinnati, Ohio where he received a master of arts degree in 1891. He returned to Texas and was ordained at the procathedral in Dallas by Rev. Brennan the same year.

In late 1897, he was appointed rector of the procathedral in Dallas and immediately applied his building skills to the construction of the present cathedral. In early 1899, a smallpox epidemic broke out in Dallas, and Father Jeffrey tended to the spiritual needs of the disease victims at the “pest house” (quarantine hospital) six miles away.

Father Hartnett died at the young age of 36 but is still remembered for his efforts to help smallpox victims in Dallas.

On the night of February 11, 1899, an blizzard hit Dallas. Answering the call for help, Hartnett walked to the pest house at the peak of the blizzard to administer last rites to a dying woman. He contracted smallpox and on March 7, 1899, he died. He was only 36 years old.

The Dallas Morning News remarked: “No death which has occurred in Dallas for many years, has occasioned more general regret than that of Rev. Father Hartnett.”

A memorial stained glass window dedicated to Father Hartnett is in the Sacred Heart Cathedral (now known as Guadalupe Cathedral) in Dallas.

Also located within the Religious Circle at Old Calvary are the graves of four Catholic nuns. They all are thought to have died under the age of 25. The Sisters of Mary of Nahum came to Fort Worth in 1885 and opened an academy. In 1902, the Sisters purchased the former James Dargan mansion in Oakcliff and opened Our Lady of Good Counsel School. In 1912, they began building a school in East Dallas at St. Edward’s Church.

The nun who I found the most information on was Sister Conlon. A native of Ireland born in 1889, Sister Antonia Conlon came to America in 1907 to teach at schools in Fort Worth and Wichita Falls before coming to Dallas. She died following an appendectomy on Jan. 22, 1913 at the age of 23. Her grave marker and death certificate have her first name as “Antonio” for reasons I don’t know.

Sister Antonia Conlon (spelled Antonio on her marker) died at the age of 23 after an appendectomy.

Death of a Humble Clerk

One of the first markers I saw near the front was this one for young Stephen S. Marino. I suspect there might have been a cross on top of it originally. He was only 15 when he died. Because he passed away in 1917, I wondered if it was Spanish Flu. But I was wrong.

Stephen Marino was only a few months short of his 16th birthday when he died.

Born in 1901, Stephen was the son of Italian immigrants Joseph Marino and Jennie La Barbara Marino. Joe was a fruit and vegetable peddler in Dallas and Stephens was the Marinos’ oldest son.

At the time of his death, Stephen was working as a clerk for Butler Brothers, a Chicago-based wholesaler whose building was constructed around 1910. It was a massive structure at the time and employed many.

The Butler Brothers building was refaced in the 1960s, sat empty for some time and was renovated into luxury condominiums in 2015.

Stephen was only a few months shy of his 16th birthday when he fell ill and went to the Texas Baptist Memorial Sanitarium for treatment. This facility would go on to become Baylor University Medical Center.

Before it was called Baylor University Medical Center, the hospital was known as Texas Baptist Memorial Sanitarium.

Stephen died at the Sanitarium on March 19, 1917. His death certificate lists “chronic olitis media” as the main cause of death, a middle ear infection. A step infection is listed as a secondary contributor. His four younger siblings all lived well into adulthood and his parents also lived long lives. But they are buried at other cemeteries.

Stephen Marino was the oldest child of his Italian immigrant parents.

Tracking a Family Tree

The Dessaint tree monument is a puzzling piece of history and it took me a while to figure out exactly what was going on with it. Initially, I thought that the children whose names are on it were not actually buried there because the cemetery was not established until 1878 and the deaths occurred in the early 1860s. Also, the parents lived in Iowa when these children died.

The Dessaint family “tree” is in need of repair. The letters of “Dessaint” have fallen off over the years.

A native of Quebec, Canada, Louis Cyriac Dessaint married Marie Claire Duroshier in St. Louis, Mo. in 1839. Their first four children, Marie, Louis A., Emilie, and Clara were born there. Sometime after Clara’s birth in 1857, they moved to Davenport, Iowa where Cora, Eugene, and Adella were born. Louis made his mark in Davenport, accumulating wealth through his hardware store and lumber business. He built a number of homes that include the Palmer Mansion, which still stands today.

Louis and Marie Dessaint left Iowa for Dallas in 1885 after youngest daughter Adella married real estate agent Frank Irvine of Virginia and had moved there.

Children’s Remains Moved

It was finding the 1907 death notice for Marie Claire, Louis’ wife, that solved the mystery of the Dessaint children’s final resting place. Louis C., their father, had the remains of Eugene, Cora, and Clara disinterred from a Davenport, Iowa cemetery and moved to Calvary Cemetery in Dallas when they moved to Texas. It really is a testament to how valuable old newspaper clippings can be!

Sadly, daughter Adella died on Aug. 25, 1894 at the age of 31. You can see her name/dates near the foot of the tree marker. Placed nearby is a marker to a baby named Addie, who was born on April 14, 1894 and died 10 months later in March 1895. I think she must be the daughter of Adella and Frank Irvine since Adella died only nine days after little Addie was born.

I believe Addie to be the child of Marie “Adella” Dessaint Irvine and Frank Irvine.

The names of Adella’s siblings who died in the 1860s are inscribed on other parts of the tree. Lying at the base is part of the “tree” that has since broken off for Eugene, who was born in 1859. I cannot make out exactly when he died.

Eugene’s death date is difficult to read.

There there is Claire or “Clara” (as she was called) who died in January 1862 at the age of 10.

Claire or “Cora” Dessaint died in January 1862 at age 10.

Then there is sister Corinne “Cora” who was born on July 12, 1857 and died in December 1862, almost a year after her older sister Clara.

Cora was five years old when she died in December 1862.

Marie, the family matriarch, died on Jan. 26, 1907. Patriarch Louis C. Dessaint followed on Dec. 20 of the same year. They are buried beside each other next to the Dessaint tree. Adella’s husband, Frank, died in 1908 at a sanitarium in Colorado from consumption. His body was brought back to Dallas for burial beside his wife and in-laws at Old Calvary.

Next time, I’ll be next door at Temple Emanu-El Cemetery.

An angel sits atop the monument to Marianna Cardella (1845-1915).


Deep in the Heart of Dallas, Texas: Exploring Silent City of the Dead Greenwood Cemetery, Part III

We’re not done at Greenwood Cemetery in Dallas, Texas just yet. With a cemetery this big, there are too many stories that I can’t seem to leave out.

This is a picture Chris took.

I am often drawn to markers with the names of multiple children on them. I always find it hard to grasp the grief of a couple who has anticipated the joy of the birth of a child, only to experience heart-breaking loss within a year or two. Over and over.

The Clark family is one such family.

The Clark family monument has eight names inscribed on it. Five are of children who died young.

Tennessee native William Jefferson Clark, born in 1828, moved with his family to Harrison County, Texas. After serving in the Mexican War in 1848, he met and married Loucinda Jane Fisher around 1858. She was a recent arrival to Texas from Georgia.

Dallas Pioneer

Clark farmed alongside his family and John H. Bryan, a family friend who came from Tennessee with the Clarks. By 1860, William Clark was a wealthy farmer with large property holdings.

In March 1862, Clark helped raise Company A of the 19th Texas Infantry of the Confederacy in Jefferson, Texas. Following the Civil War, Clark returned home and moved his family to Dallas County where he invested in Keyes, Clarke, and Company, a dry goods mercantile, with his friend, John H. Bryan. The two renamed their store Clark & Bryan Dry Goods.

An 1874 ad in the Dallas Daily Herald for Clark & Bryan’s dry goods store.

William and Loucinda had their first child, Leslie, in 1859. He would marry, raise a family, and operate a successful real estate business in Dallas with help from his father. Second son Atwell Wycliff was born in 1865. He never married but helped his father in the day-to-day operations of his dry goods business.

On Ancestry, I found a few letters Atwell wrote to his cousins later in life describing memories of his childhood in Dallas. Wycliff Avenue and Wycliff Avenue Lake in Dallas are probably named after him as it is located on what was originally the W.J. Clark Cedar Springs addition that his father and brother developed.

Although an eternal bachelor, Atwell Clark was deeply involved in his father’s business interests.

Young Lives Cut Short

Over the next several years, Loucinda would give birth seven more times. Herbert was born in 1869 and died in 1871. Jessie Lou was born in 1871 and died the same year. Leeta was born in 1874 and lived a long life. Virgia was born in 1876 and died the same year. Fannie was born in 1876 and died the same year. Bertha was born in 1878 and lived well into adulthood. Their last child, Mathew Ennis, was born in 1880 and only lived a week.

The statue on top of the Clark monument is missing part of her hand.

The Clark monument features a statue of a female figure that was originally pointing upward but has lost a few fingers. When I first saw this photo I took of her, it almost looked like she was holding her fist up in defiance. It made me wonder if there were times Loucinda’s got angry at God because so many of her children died. It had to have been so hard to bear.

William’s partnership with Bryan resulted in a highly successful Dallas retail establishment and provided Clark with capital that he invested in real estate and railroads.

An inverted torch, like the ones pictured on either side of the Clark monument, symbolizes death or a life extinguished. It means your soul is still burning in the afterlife.

I wasn’t able to trace Loucinda with any of her adult children after William’s death in 1901 of heart failure. But she was living in Atlanta when she died in 1917. Her remains were brought back to Dallas for burial at Greenwood Cemetery beside William and her little ones. Son Leslie, who died in 1919 at age 59, is also buried at Greenwood with his wife, Lula, in a different plot. Atwell died in 1925 and is buried with his parents.

The Loss of Four Children

The markers for the Terry family also attest to the deaths of several children. But I found more holes than fabric when I tried to knit together their history.

Born in South Carolina around 1837, Charles Terry moved with his family to Mississippi where they farmed. Charles moved to Dallas in 1866 and his brothers followed in the next few years. He married Martha “Maffie” Clark at some time after that. They had two daughters, Winnie (1871) and Maidie (1873). Charles is listed as a merchant in 1870, a miller in 1880 and as a landlord in 1900. Apparently, the Terry brothers owned and operated a flour mill with a Charles Beauchamp. I found an ad for a dry goods store opened by the two Charles from 1870.

Both of Maffie and Charles’ daughters lived well into adulthood, married, and had children.

I don’t know if Maffie died or the couple divorced. But Charles married Louisiana native Caroline “Carrie” Beauchamp in 1874. She was likely related to the Beauchamps he operated the store with but I’m not sure how.

Daughter Augusta was born in 1876. Over the next several years, they would have several children but none of them would live to adulthood. I do not know what years these children were born or died. Only the names on four stones at Greenwood Cemetery survive. According to the 1900 Census, Carried reported that she had given birth to six children but only one (Augusta) survived.

Charles Terry’s mother’s name was Winifred Graydon Terry, perhaps inspiring the name of this child.

I believe Florence and Flora must have been twins.

Charles died in 1907 and his will reveals that he left everything to Carrie, Winnie, Augusta, and Maidie. Carried died in 1931 of heart failure at the age of 81. She and Charles both have what are called “cradle” style graves because of their oval shape. I believe that they were created after Charles died and that one was made for Carrie at that time. But there are no dates on either. Such a style would not have been common in the 1930s.

Charles and Carrie Terry do not have birth or death dates on their graves.

Maidie died of a brain tumor in 1926 at age 53 and is buried with her husband (who would become mayor of Dallas in 1932) in Grove Hill Cemetery in Dallas. Winnie died in 1942 at age 72 and is buried with her husband in Laurel Land Memorial Park in Dallas.

Part I of the Life of Henry C. Coke

My start my last story is what I’ll call Part I of the life of Henry C. Coke. I say that because his first wife and two of his children with her are buried at Greenwood. But Henry is not buried with them. He would go on to remarry and have a second family. Perhaps a second life.

Born in 1856 in Norfolk, Va., Henry Cornick Coke was the son of farmer/attorney William Coke and his wife, Lucy Cornick Cook. William was the nephew of Senator Richard Coke of Dallas. Henry graduated from the College of William and Mary and got his law degree from the Univ. of Virginia in 1879. He arrived in Dallas in 1881.

Photo of Henry C. Coke taken from the 1904 University of Virginia profile book. He received his law degree there in 1879.

Henry married Texas native Roberta Lee Rosser sometime in 1884. Before their union, Roberta was often lauded in the Dallas papers for her musical prowess as a vocalist. Their first child, Roberta, was born in 1885. Henry was practicing law and making a name for himself in Dallas by this time.

Their second child, Henry Coke, Jr., was born on Nov. 17, 1884. Hobson Coke was born on Feb. 8, 1887 but died only three months later on May 10, 1887. His marker is what I term the “baby on a half shell” style that I see from time to time.

Hobson Coke only lived three months before he died in May 1887.

Roberta would give birth a final time on Aug. 3, 1888 to Rosser “R.J.” Coke. She died a week later on Aug. 9, 1888. I found no newspaper articles about her death. Henry erected this large monument to her that is topped with an urn from which an eternal flame emerges.

Roberta Rosser Coker was only 23 when she died soon after the birth of her third child.

“In loving remembrance of my dear young wife.”

Part II of Henry Coke’s Life

Henry would marry again in 1890 to Missouri native Margaret Johnson, whose father was a civil engineer in Dallas. They had three children together over the next 10 years: Richard in 1892, Lucy in 1896, and Anna in April 1900.

But tragedy would strike again a month after Anna’s birth. Henry Jr., 15, was attending high school in Sherman, Texas at Letellier High School when he went swimming with three friends. According to a newspaper article, he got a cramp and drowned. He was buried beside his mother at Greenwood Cemetery.

Henry Cornick Coke, Jr., 15, drowned in 1900 while swimming with friends in a tank.

Henry and Margaret had their last child, another Henry Jr., on Aug. 24, 1903. Henry Sr.’s success as an attorney continued. He served as chief counsel for Standard Oil when Texas sought to dissolve the company as a corporate entity there. He was also heavily involved in the banking industry. When he died in 1933 at the age of 77, he was chairman of the board of the First National Bank of Dallas.

Wife Margaret died the following year. They are buried together at Grove Hill Memorial Park in Dallas. Henry and Roberta’s first child, Roberta, and her husband are buried there along with three of his children with Margaret. They all lived well into old age. Anna is interred in the mausoleum at Sparkman Hillcrest Memorial Park in Dallas.

There are many more stories that I could share from Greenwood Cemetery. But I’ll leave those for another day. Next time, I’ll be across the street at Calvary Cemetery.

The streets within Greenwood Cemetery are named after virtues such as grace, faith, friendship, freedom, hope, liberty, and peace.