Whitney Houston’s gravestone engraved with her most famous lyrics

Whitney Houston singing

Songstress Whitney Houston has had lyrics to her famous hit ‘I Will Always Love You’ engraved onto her red granite memorial in honour of one of her biggest life achievements.

Although ‘I Will Always Love You’ was originally performed and written in 1974 by country singer Dolly Parton, Whitney Houston’s 1992 rendition took the song to new heights of fame and music legend. Whitney performed the song to be part of the soundtrack for her 1992 film The Bodyguard, a film that ended up being the second-highest-grossing film in the world in 1992, and a soundtrack that became the best-selling soundtrack of all time.

Whitney won two Grammy Awards for her performance and ‘I Will Always Love You’ has since become synonymous with the film and with Whitney’s life. Not only was the title of the song engraved on her headstone, but her affectionate nickname ‘The Voice’ was also added to the memorial.

The death of Whitney Houston came as a shock to the world, a death made all the more tragic by the fact that it was caused by accidental drowning. Some of the music industry’s biggest names, including Stevie Wonder and Alicia Keys, attended her memorial service to pay tribute to the star.

The red granite gravestone is in the shape of a teardrop and features a heart and cross design, a touching tribute to the star, and it has now been added to her resting place at the Fairview Cemetery in Westfield, New Jersey, over a year after her death.

Image Credit: nico7martin (flickr.com)

Gravestone finally dedicated to Titanic survivor

A Swedish man who survived the sinking of RMS Titanic is to finally have a gravestone dedicated to him, almost 90 years after he passed away in a separate apparent drowning incident, according to the Livingston Daily.

Oscar Palmquist had never been honoured with a monument by the state of Connecticut to which he emigrated as a third class passenger on the legendary steam liner, despite overcoming a near-death experience in the icy waters of the Atlantic to eventually achieve his dream of settling in the city of Bridgeport with his brother.

This fact was recently discovered by the Titanic International Society, whose president emeritus, Shelley Dziedzic, has spearheaded an effort to rectify the situation. Speaking to a reporter, Dziedzic said that she ‘felt it was no justice for him, no recognition for what had happened to him and no one ever pursued it’.

A descendent of the deceased, David Palmquist, expressed his gratitude for the steps that have been taken by Dziedzic and her society, commenting that the act was ‘extremely generous’. ‘They’re seeking out the poorer classes of people who were otherwise forgotten’, he said, ‘and families that could not or did not pay for headstones’.

Doubt has been cast on the assumption that Palmquist drowned in 1925, with foul play suspected by some, but this speculation had no bearing on the decision to provide him with a long overdue granite memorial stone at Bridgetown’s Mountain Grove Cemetery. Amazingly, the $2,000 cost of the monument was covered entirely by the donations of people touched by the story from around the world.

US soldier given headstone 130 years after death

A US Civil War Union Army veteran who passed away in 1881 has finally been honoured with a headstone after a decades-long battle by his great-great-grandson to get him recognised finally ended in victory.

Private Henry Middleton Applegate served faithfully for two years in Company ‘I’ of the 38th New Jersey Infantry, yet had never been awarded the lasting tribute that his descendant, Tom Applegate, felt that he deserved. Now, after many years of working towards his ancestor being given a gravestone similar to that of his peers, his efforts have finally been rewarded; an official dedication ceremony has now taken place at the Methodist Church Cemetery where he has rested for 132 years, after the younger Applegate received a certificate of approval from President Barack Obama.

The story, which can be explored in full in this article, is a true testament to the importance many families feel of honouring their loved ones, even if the person in question has passed away long ago. What’s more, the official burial could prove to be of benefit and significance to the wider community in Burlington County, New Jersey, as it is the first to be held in the grounds of the Methodist church since 1993.

The site was abandoned many years ago, and is now boarded up, but the recent activity there, prompted by Applegate, seems to have reignited interest in it. Whilst the churchyard’s marble headstones are currently untended, it now appears that the church could soon be given new life as a museum or community centre.

Google announce online data ‘wills’ for users

The search engine giants Google have unveiled a new service that will allow the relatives and partners of account holders to inherit their online legacy, with users now being invited to set up their own digital ‘wills’.

Announcing the project, known as Inactive Account Manager, Google product manager Andreas Tuerk conceded that ‘not many of us like thinking about death’, and that this is especially the case when considering our own or that of those closest to us. However, in an increasingly digital world, it is important that people begin to make provisions for what happens to their online profiles once they have gone.

Although perhaps not as tangible a memorial as gravestones, a person’s YouTube, Google+, Gmail and Picasa Web Albums history can tell us a great deal about the deceased, and the parent company of these services feels that browsers should now have the opportunity to either have their online presence completely removed or managed by the family members and friends of their choice.

The Inactive Account Manager works by sending a text message and email to a user once their account has been inactive for either three, six or 12 months and, if this is not responded to, the programme will assume the person in question has passed away. After this, the account will either be deleted or handed over to a ‘trusted contact’, depending on the wishes of the deceased.

Certainly one of the more unusual forms of memorial care available, this new service from Google is nevertheless a well-considered and important one in today’s high tech world.

Bromsgrove residents await restoration of famous gravestones

Work has begun on the restoration of two famous and historic gravestones in the Worcestershire town of Bromsgrove, after a campaign by local residents resulted in a commitment to get the iconic stones back to their former impressive appearance.

The tributes belong to two local men who died in a tragic accident at Bromsgrove Railway Station in 1842, Thomas Scaife and Joseph Rutherford. Unfortunately, memorial care was not given as much attention then as it is in the present day, and the quality of materials used was often of a much poorer quality; it is for these reasons that, 170 years after their deaths, the gravestones of the two railwaymen have long since fallen into disrepair in situ at the graveyard of the nearby St John’s Church. Continue reading

Tips for Restoring Old Marble Gravestones

 Marble headstones have long been a popular choice, with the material offering both the practicality of being hardwearing and being desirable due to its visual appearance. Gravestones from AK Lander made from the material do discolour overtime however and an extended period of weathering can result in the need for cleaning. This blog takes a look at a few simple tips for cleaning a marble headstone.

1. Cleaning solutions

The best option for a cleaning solution is a good non-ionic detergent, heavily diluted with warm water. Getting a sprayer is a good idea too as it makes it easy to apply the solution to the headstone. You’ll want to saturate the surface you’re cleaning, and it’s important to keep it wet to avoid soap streaks.

2. Scrubbing the headstone

When it comes to scrubbing and wiping the grime off, you’ll want to use a plastic scraper to remove the loose material and a soft-bristled scrub brush to shift the harder stains. Scrubbing in a circular motion helps avoid leaving unwanted marks on the stone and gives a better finish.

3. Protecting the cleaned headstone

Once you’ve finished the cleaning it’s worth applying a thin layer of calcium hypochlorite to the surface. The chemical is used as a biocide and helps prevent growth of mould or mildew. You’ll want to scrub the agent onto the stone, let it soak in for a while, then rinse off.

If you really want the beast results, however, it’s often best to get in the experts. Professional services are able to make a headstone look like new and if it’s beyond repair they can help advise on replacements.


German boy gets gravestone after campaign

A brave German boy who died after battling a brain tumour has finally been granted his wish, with a gravestone erected above his resting place which celebrates his favourite football team.

The news comes after the boy’s parents locked horns in a dispute with a Catholic church in the city ofDortmundabout the nature of his gravestone. Shortly before he passed away, nine year old Jens Pascal told his mother he wanted a gravestone to mark his favourite football team, emblazoned with the club crest of Borussia Dortmund. This request was made even more special when Jurgen Klopp, the manager of Borussia Dortmund, came to visit Jens at his bedside shortly before his death.

It became a problem when the Churchof Maria Heimsuchungin the city refused to grant the wish, stating that the gravestone did not comply with the rules which ban non-Christian inscriptions and images on all gravestones. The decision sparked an outcry with football fans of Borussia Dortmund and other teams which play in the Bundesliga, the top flight of German football.

Fans took to the Facebook page ‘The Last Wish of Jens Pascal’ to portray their anger, with over 100,000 messages of disgust and outrage pointed towards the church. The church have overturned their original decision and said they will be happy to reach a compromise, with the gravestone to feature a sculpture of a ball on the ground rather than on the top, meaning that Jens can now rest in peace.

The death of a loved one is always an incredibly difficult period for the whole family, with all efforts made into taking time to ensure they have the perfect send off with dignity and respect. If you ever have to deal with the death of a young family member, children’s gravestones will serve as a lifelong reminder after the funeral, offering a constant place for remembrance.

Image Credit: azulgrana.fubolowo.pl (Wikimedia Commons)

Gravestone rubbing emerging as a hobby

As Halloween approaches, a lesser-known hobby is coming into the spotlight: collecting rubbings from marble headstones.

The hobby is much like the brass rubbings done in school, where you take a piece of paper and gently rub a crayon over it to show more clearly what picture or message the brass shows. The difference here is that the subject matter in question is the gravestone that marks the resting place of a loved one.

In terms of the practicalities of gravestone rubbing, the paper needs to be large enough for the detail on the entire stone to show up on the rubbing. A trick of the trade is to use masking tape to attach the paper so that no sticky residue is left on the memorial.

The rubbings can be used to permanently record the wording of the headstone, meaning that engraved wording can easily be restored when it comes to memorial care. Another good use is to trace members of a family tree or add more information to a basic one. The key thing to remember is that those who partake in this hobby always do so with the utmost respect.

Before searching through random UK gravestones for interesting headstones, it is very important to make sure that you have permission to do so; ask the vicar of the graveyard in question if you are concerned. More information on gravestone rubbing can be found on the website for official organisation The Association for Gravestone Studies.

Image Credit: Dawn Endico (flickr.com)

Mysterious gravestone re-appears in Maryland, USA

In Montgomery County in the state of Maryland, USA, marble headstones are meant to mark the resting place of loved ones in graveyards. However, there is one gravestone that seems to have a life of its own and is being found in mysterious locations across the county.

This summer, Jim May, a workman for the local sewer department, was walking in a ditch in Hillsboro and was surprised to find a grave marker. Oddly enough, the very same grave marker was found out of place 99 years ago, when they came across the headstone near St Agnes Catholic Church in Hilsboro in 1913.

The gravestone would have marked the resting place of John T. Misenheimer, who died on 24th July 1858 and was only 9 years old at the time.

It is unlikely to be the work of anything supernatural however; both the ditch and 1913 discovery were found quite close to the Lutheran cemetery which was the original home of the grave. The cemetery was being turned into an area for residential use around 1913, and all bodies were due to be moved with their accompanying gravestones. It seems that little Misenheimer’s gravestone was unfortunate enough to be separated from its accompanying body.

The local genealogical society is hoping to pair up the mysterious headstone with the graves of whoever his parents were but, due to the lack of memorial care that the gravestone has received, some of it has proved difficult to read and no conclusive parents have been found yet. Hopefully the gravestone will find a better home, or perhaps in the next 100 years it may mysteriously appear in yet another place!

Image Credit: Phelyan Sanjoin (flickr.com)

Things to Consider When Comparing a Conventional or Eco-Funeral

Green Wooded Cemetery

When it is time to consider the arrangements for your chosen funeral or burial method, you now have a whole host of options to choose from. This could compare a wide range of conventional funeral and memorial options available, or alternatively you could choose from a variety of the growing trend of Eco-funeral options which are becoming available throughout the UK.

If you are thinking of a conventional funeral with regular cemetery burial, you will have to think about where you would like your final resting place. For this, you will need to check if there is available space in your chosen cemetery. You can check out this situation by making contact with the local church or the cemetery management. When checking this, you will also be able to consider options for funeral services in addition to which type of coffin or container you would like to be buried or cremated in. Continue reading