Bernie Mac

Posted in Washington Memory Gardens with tags , , on September 20, 2021 by Cade

October 5, 1957 – August 9, 2008

Bernie Mac was a comedian and actor who rose to fame in the late 1990s and was a staple in American movies and television throughout the 2000s. Bernard McCullough was born in Chicago and grew up idolizing comedians like Redd Foxx and Richard Pryor. He began his stand-up career in the Cotton Club in his hometown and immediately starting getting noticed for his fearless performances. In 1990, he won a comedy contest that led to an appearance on HBO’s Def Comedy Jam and by the mid-90s, he was appearing in movies like House Party 3 and Friday. In 2000, he was featured alongside Steve Harvey, Cedric the Entertainer and D.L. Hughley in Spike Lee’s massive hit, The Original Kings of Comedy. Continue reading

Hank Snow

Posted in Spring Hill Cemetery with tags , , on September 13, 2021 by Cade

May 9, 1914 – December 20, 1999

Clarence Eugene “Hank” Snow grew up in Nova Scotia, Canada idolizing Country & Western legend, Jimmie Rodgers. Snow’s humble beginnings were marred with poverty, foster situations and abuse. But, the times he did get to live with his mother were relatively happy…and full of music. His mother was a talented singer and organ player and young Clarence soon began playing guitar and singing himself.

But, in Nova Scotia in the 1920s, music didn’t put food on the table, so Hank took various jobs – ranging from dock work to working on a fishing boat – to help make ends meet. All the while, he continued to stoke his passion for music. He eventually landed an audition at a local radio station which led to paying gigs and – eventually – a recording contract. He moved to Nashville in 1949. Continue reading

Harriet Tubman

Posted in Fort Hill Cemetery with tags , on September 6, 2021 by Cade

c. 1820 – March 10, 1913

Harriet Tubman was an abolitionist and activist who became one of the most famous freer of enslaved people in the 19th Century United States. Her life and legacy made her a true American icon.

Born into slavery in Maryland as Araminta Ross around the year 1820 (the birth year on her grave marker), “Minty” – as she was known – endured all of the hardships that accompanied slaves at the time. Several of her siblings were sold away, she was routinely whipped and – in one instance – was severely injured when an overseer hit her in the head with a heavy metal object. This injury caused life-long issues for her and led to visions and dreams…which she would later claim were revelations from God. Continue reading

Roy Acuff

Posted in Spring Hill Cemetery with tags , , , on August 30, 2021 by Cade

September 15, 1903 – November 23, 1992

“He’s the biggest singer this music ever knew. You booked him and you didn’t worry about crowds. For drawing power in the South, it was Roy Acuff, then God.” – Hank Williams

As a young man in Tennessee, Roy Claxton Acuff wanted to be a baseball player. When that didn’t work out for him, he found solace in some country-western records his dad gave him. With his mind successfully off of baseball, he decided he wanted to be an entertainer and so he set out to become one. Continue reading

Gus Grissom

Posted in Arlington National Cemetery with tags , , on August 23, 2021 by Cade

grissom1April 3, 1926 – January 27, 1967

Virgil Ivan Grissom grew up in Indiana building model airplanes and dreaming of becoming a pilot. When he was in high school, World War II broke out, so Virgil – whose friends called him “Gus” – seized his chance to become a pilot and joined the Army Air Forces. Gus spent the war basically behind a desk…on the ground.

Six years later, the U.S. entered the Korean War and Gus re-enlisted in the newly rebranded Air Force; and this time, he earned his pilot wings. Grissom flew 100 missions in the conflict and made quite a name for himself as an airman. After the war, he became a test pilot and, in 1959, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration called Gus with a special offer.

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James Garfield

Posted in Lake View Cemetery (OH) with tags , on August 16, 2021 by Cade

November 19, 1831 – September 19, 1881

James A. Garfield was the 20th President of the United States. A lawyer and Major General during the Civil War, Garfield served in the Ohio State Senate before being elected to a 17 year career in the U.S. House of Representatives. Serving in Congress during the post-war Reconstruction found Garfield helping to steer the course of the recovering nation as a prominent legislator.

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Rutherford B. Hayes

Posted in Spiegel Grove with tags , on August 9, 2021 by Cade

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October 4, 1822 – January 17, 1893

The 19th President of the United States, Rutherford Birchard Hayes’ career was marked with both good and bad moments. As a lawyer and abolitionist, he defended a number of fugitive slaves (good). As President, he formally ended all Federal Reconstruction efforts in the south, basically letting white southerners determine for themselves what rights black freed men could have (bad). He weeded out corruption in the postal and civil services (good). He “remedied” the Great Railroad Strike of 1877 by ordering the military to bloodily end it (bad). So on and so forth.

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Jimmy Martin

Posted in Spring Hill Cemetery with tags , , , on August 2, 2021 by Cade

August 10, 1927 – May 14, 2005

One of the most iconic voices in all of Bluegrass, Jimmy Martin was a singer and guitar player who, at the age of 22, snuck backstage at a Bill Monroe concert to audition for the legend’s vacant guitar player spot. Martin was hired on sight and used his high tenor voice to help create and perfect the “high lonesome” sound alongside Monroe’s vocals. The two singing together became one of the most recognizable sounds in Bluegrass music.

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Maureen O’Hara

Posted in Arlington National Cemetery with tags , on July 26, 2021 by Cade

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August 17, 1920 – October 24, 2015

Maureen O’Hara is perhaps the most famous Irish actress of all time. Her expressive face and flaming auburn hair earned her the nickname “The Queen of Technicolor.” Bitten by the performing bug at a very young age, Maureen (born FitzSimons) studied drama, music and dance in Ireland throughout her youth. At 17, she was discovered in a stage production and invited to screen test in London by actor/director Charles Laughton. Despite her youth and her unhappiness with the screen test process, she signed a contract with Laughton and his new Mayflower Pictures. O’Hara’s career in London started slowly. Her most notable early appearance was in Alfred Hitchcock’s Jamaica Inn alongside Laughton. Her performance drew attention, though, and soon she was on a ship across the Atlantic with Laughton and her mother to begin filming with RKO Pictures on The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Continue reading

Lou Brock

Posted in Bellerive Gardens with tags , , , , , on July 19, 2021 by Cade

June 18, 1939 – September 6, 2020

As a baseball player, one could certainly do worse than follow the path of Lou Brock. From joining the baseball team in college in hopes of securing a scholarship to be able to stay in school…to setting stolen base records and becoming a first-ballot hall of famer, Brock’s baseball career was anything but typical.

He made the team in his first year at Southern University and batted a paltry .189.

He got better. Continue reading