|Birth: ||Sep. 1, 1901, USA|
|Death: ||Jun. 5, 1957|
A story written by Don Ladner who along with his wife, Leavon, manage the Kinder McRill Memorial Cemetery.
12 March 2005
Subject: Saving Grace
The old cemetery records were written by hand and the entries are not easily discernable. As you turned the yellowed pages of the record book, you could easily see that the first name of the person buried in Lot 38 was "Grace". The last name, however, could not be deciphered so easily. A walk through the cemetery would provide no further clues as to the identity of this "Grace" because there was no headstone marker on her burial site.
For years after Leavon and I voluntarily took over the records keeping for this cemetery, we wondered just who was this Grace buried there years ago with no headstone to mark her grave. Last month, a telephone tip led to our re-opening the files on this "cold case". An elderly lady called to inquire about the availability of a burial space for her daughter in Lot 38, which was purchased by the lady's husband over 50 years ago. I told her that her daughter, did indeed, have a reserved space... as did she... in Lot 38. Then I inquired as to who was this lady named Grace who was buried in their family plot. What she related to me in answer to my question was most interesting.
She told the story of a middle-aged lady who was killed in a traffic accident as she was driving across country to visit her merchant seaman husband. "Her body was brought to the local funeral home where my husband worked," she said, "and was kept there for several days as authorities searched for her relatives. What the authorities discovered was quite disturbing... the dead lady's family had disowned her for marrying a man they didn't approve of... and when the dead lady's husband was located, he wanted nothing to do with his wife's body. That's when my husband stepped in and had this lady buried in our family plot." "That's quite commendable," I told the elderly lady, "Now, I need to find out more about this "Grace" lady because I would like to put a headstone on her grave."
After several weeks of searching, Leavon and I finally solved the case of "Grace". Digging through burial records at the funeral home led us to her birth date, as well as, the date of her death-- 5 June 1957, but the handwritten records still did not precisely clarify the spelling of her last name. A trip to the genealogical library and a computer search of the obituary files for everyone with the first name Grace finally provided us with Grace's last name-- Baranski. A quick review of old newspaper files provided us with two articles regarding the accident in which Grace was killed. Needless to say, Leavon and I were elated at our findings and headed directly to the monument company to order a headstone for Grace.
After we related the story of Grace to the lady who owns the monument company and ordered a headstone marker for Grace's grave, I asked what the cost of the marker would be. "Nothing", she answered, "You two have done enough. This one is on me." "Thank you so much for your generosity", I replied, "In doing this, we are saving Grace from almost complete anonymity... and, by the way, would you please add 'In Loving Memory' to her headstone."
Have a GREAT day and don't forget to take another marble out of the jar.
As a Post Script to this story about "Saving Grace", let me add two small tidbits of information:
(1) The first is": When I initially talked to the lady whose husband worked for the funeral home in Kinder and buried Grace in his family burial plot, she told me that there was something else that she remembered after all these years.
She remembered that Grace had a little dog that was traveling with her…the little dog had survived the crash… but, wouldn't leave his mistress's side until the lady's husband took Grace's purse and put it beside the little dog in another room.
That recollection by the lady I talked to was verified when Leavon and I found the newspaper article of Grace's accident… it read: "Funeral home spokesmen were quoted as saying the only survivor of the crash—a small dog who was unharmed—has stayed close to his mistress's body and slept last night only after his purse was put by his side."
Also, when talking to the lady, I wondered aloud what happened to the little dog. She answered, "That's the one thing that has bothered me most of all about the tragic accident of this lady, Grace… I understand her, no-good, husband took the little dog and traded it for drinks at the local bar-lounge. That's something, I will never forget and forgive him for."
(2) The second Post Script to the story about "Saving Grace" is this: After the headstone marker was finished, Leavon and I picked it up from the monument company and held it until the next time our granddaughter came to visit. That visit was on Good Friday, a year ago,… and that was the day that our whole family went out to the cemetery to place the headstone marker on Grace's grave. At that time, our granddaughter who is named Lundyn Grace, honored the memory of Grace Baranski, by putting a bouquet of fresh-cut flowers on her grave. We took pictures and promised Miss Grace that Lundyn Grace would be back with more flowers in the days and years ahead. A promise we intend to keep.
Kinder McRill Memorial Cemetery
Plot: Section G, Row 7
Created by: Colonel Don Ladner
Record added: Apr 03, 2009
Find A Grave Memorial# 35489398