Stones With a Story

Bollinger County Memorial Park 11-11-2013I love roaming around in cemeteries. It’s a good way to get a feel for communities: how old they are; who the prominent families are; when epidemics swept through… Most tombstones are pretty ordinary: birth date, death date and a standard inscription.

Sometimes, though, you stumble across stones with personality. This beautiful shoe in Bollinger County Memorial Park caught my eye from five rows away. I just had to see what that was all about. (Click on the photos to make them larger.)

Husband: “I Made It”

Bollinger County Memorial Park 11-11-2013It turned out to be a pair of tombstones side by side for Roger Elmer Damlow and Wilma Lee Damlow. His stone has the symbol of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America on it.

At the bottom is the inscription, “I MADE IT,” which you would think appropriate for a craftsman.

Wife: “I spent it”

Bollinger County Memorial Park 11-11-2013His wife’s stone, though, gives his phrase a different spin. “I SPENT IT,” it proclaims. Her stone is decorated with logos for designer products. (I have to wonder if those companies will go after her for trademark infringement or if they will be flattered to be remembered that way?)

Since neither of the stones has a death date on it, the couple is probably still alive and could tell the story behind the stones, but I’d rather speculate.

Penny Lou Klingel

Klingel grave - Lightner & St Joseph Cemtery Scott City 11-08-2013Penny Lou Klingel’s marker in Scott City’s Lightner & St. Joseph Cemetery was strikingly unusual from the front. I spotted its shape from a distance, grabbed a telephoto lens to get a closer look, then had to walk up to see what the back looked like.

“Later, Dummies”

Klingel grave - Lightner & St Joseph Cemtery Scott City 11-08-2013

It was worth the walk. The back side of the stone that had the kicker: “Later, Dummies.”

I can only guess that was one of her favorite sayings.

Here is a link to a set of tombstones I found in Athens, Ohio, this summer. One was heartrending; the other had a touch of whimsy.



10 Replies to “Stones With a Story”

  1. Ken, the Catholic cemetery at Glennon has an even more beautiful angel stone like the one at Scott City. In the same cemetery, there is a stone for Alfonso James, who is either Frank James himself–or a cousin of Frank and Jesse James. (That’s why I was there.) The stone was erected over the grave not many years ago, though I believe the date of death was 1910. Whoever he was, he lived on a farm south of Advance (Hilltop).

  2. I’m guessing Penny Sanford is a cousin of mine through the lineage of my great grandparents (from Jackson), Linus and Martha Sanford. Very interesting photos, Ken. I’m sorry I don’t know the Damlows. What an interesting couple they must have been/ be!

  3. My son and daughter live in New England and when I visit, we love to visit old cemeteries. So much history beginning in the 1600s.

  4. Hello..I am Penny Lou Sanford ‘ s baby brother.
    It was nice to see my sisters stone on this site. Just wanted to give some insight on the stone. Penny daughter and I picked that stone out for her. And yes you are correct on the back of the stone was a saying of her’s. She fondly called people she cared about Dummies! Thank you for noticing her stone…

    1. Thanks for filling in the gaps. I often wonder if I am invading the privacy of families when I post their tombstones. On the other hand, I figure if they went to all the trouble of creating a unique stone, they must have an interesting story worth sharing.

  5. I know the Damlow’s & Wilma passed in 2014. She loved her shoes & loved to shop. She also had a great sense of humor. When I stumbled upon this while looking for details on her D.O.D., and I instantly knew this had to be her gravestone. It is sad to know she is gone, but if she had it her way, I’m sure she would love to be surrounded around all the shoes she could get her hands on, as well as her family, whom she loved dearly.

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