Historical Albion Michigan
By Frank Passic

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Any photos not otherwise credited are from the personal collection of Frank Passic, Albion Historian.

PEOPLE WHO NEVER DIED

Morning Star, November 5, 1995, pg. 5

I would like to thank those who attended my annual Riverside Cemetery tour a few weeks ago. We had a wonderful turnout of 80 live persons and enjoyed the afternoon together, shaving cream and all. If you missed it, there are a few extra copies of my tour program filled with interesting biographies of over 45 persons on the tour contained therein. You’ll especially like the part about the Riverside Mausoleum which we had a rare opportunity to tour. You can obtain these programs at the Albion Chamber of Commerce while they last.

Each year at this time for the past few years I’ve written in this column about “people who never died.” The story goes that there are people 130, 140, and even 150 years old who are living here in Albion, who haven’t died yet. At least that’s what you’d think by looking at their tombstone--there are no death dates on their markers in Riverside Cemetery!

For the past couple of years I have listed the names I have encountered while preparing my annual tour. I won’t repeat these this year, but will inform you that last year’s “feature” person, Julia McCune (1898-1982) was remembered by her friends in the Albion College community, who took up an offering and raised the $60 necessary to have her death year inscribed on her unfinished tombstone. Other persons have also contracted area marker companies to inquire on several other names mentioned in my previous articles. A big thank you for caring. If you would like the complete list, write me and I’ll photocopy my previous articles on the subject for you.

This year when preparing my tour, I came across some others and are listing them here. I’ve put question marks for the digits that are missing from the tombstone. Helen M. Bunde 1896-19?? (Note: she was actually born in 1895); Abbie A. Williams 1846-19??; Henrietta J. A. (Beilfuss) Ashdown 1862-????; William R. Bentley 1835-????; Ella E. Strickland 1849-19??; Helen Young 1894-19??; and Roy L. Goll 1887-????

There are several reasons why these dates have not been included. Sometimes the person was in their 90s when they died, were last of the family line, and there was no one left to take care of seeing that the death date was inscribed. Sometimes the hospital bills ate up their money, leaving none left for inscribing the stone. Sometimes the tombstone engraver died before the person on the tombstone died. The pre-paid in advance money is “gone,” and so is the engraving firm with him. Sometimes the family expected someone else in the family to pay for it and have it done, or worse, they took the money and didn’t have it done. Sometimes a stone was prepared for a spouse “in advance” with their birth date, but who ended up marrying someone else later and was buried in another place. Sometimes the persons moved to Florida or Arizona where they retired, where they died and are buried. But a tombstone had been prepared for them “up here” when they lived in Albion years earlier. Finally, sometimes the closest heir is a distant second cousin or a great niece, who feels no responsibility to have the death date inscribed.

From our Historical Notebook this week we present a photograph of the tombstone of Tenney Peabody, Albion’s first settler. Behind it is the large tall marker of Charles W. Dalrymple, Albion’s longest serving school board member (39 years). Both were stops on this year’s cemetery tour.


Tombstone of Tenney Peabody

Next: THE CEMENT CASKET COMPANY


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