Epitaph Epilogue

Epitaph Epilogue

by Leanne Lippincott-Wuerthele


In last month’s column, I shared some actual tombstone epitaphs. Here are a few more.

This epitaph appears on an 1880s-era grave in Nantucket, Mass.: “Under the sod and under the trees, lies the body of Jonathan Pease. He is not here, there’s only the pod. Pease shelled out and went to God.”

Auctioneer Jedediah Goodwin was born in 1828 and died in 1876. His tombstone reads, “Going! Going!! Gone!!!”

American television host Merv Griffin died in 2007 at age 82. His epitaph reads, “I will not be right back after this message.”

Mel Blanc, the voice of such Looney Tunes characters as Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, and Porky Pig, is buried in Hollywood Forever Cemetery. His tombstone reads, “Mel Blanc, Man of 1,000 voices—Beloved husband and father, 1908-1989.” Also engraved are the words, “That’s All Folks.”

A tombstone of a hanged sheep rustler buried in Larne, Ireland, reads, “Here lies the body of Thomas Kemp, who lived by wool and died by hemp.”

A gravestone in Woodville, England, reads, “The dust of Melantha Gribbling, swept up at last by the Great Housekeeper.”

Seen on a dentist’s grave in Edinburgh, Scotland: “Stranger tread this ground with gravity. Dentist Brown is filling his last cavity.”

A coalminer’s grave has this succinct inscription: “Gone Underground for Good.”

Here’s another brief but informative epitaph: “Here lies the body of good old Fred… a great big rock fell on his head.”

This appears on a gravedigger’s tombstone: “Hooray my brave boys, let’s rejoice at his fall. For if he had lived, he would have buried us all.”

Revivalist Leonard Ravenhill (1907-1994) was born in Yorkshire, England, but is buried in Garden Valley, Texas. The phrase, “Carried by Angels,” appears at the top of his grave marker. Underneath Rev. Ravenhill’s name are these thought-provoking words: “Are the things you are living for worth Christ dying for?”

Captain Thomas Coffin, a fisherman, died in 1842 at age 50. His epitaph in New Shoreham, R.I., reads, “He’s done a-catching cod and gone to meet his God.”

American singer Rick James, who died in 2004 at age 56, had many ups and downs during his life, including prison time and battling drugs. His tombstone at the Forest Lawn Cemetery in Buffalo, N.Y., reads: “I’ve had it all, I’ve done it all, I’ve seen it all, it’s all about love… God Is Love.”

The headstone of Dr. Joseph Rudolph (1917-2003) reads, “Beloved husband, father, grandfather, beloved physician, teacher, friend. A man who practiced chesed [a Hebrew word commonly translated as loving kindness] and loved his fellow men. Goodnight Sweet Prince.”

Singer Johnny Cash and his wife, June Carter Cash, died within four months of each other in 2003. John’s tombstone is engraved with Psalm 19:14: “Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength and my redeemer.” June’s tombstone quotes Psalm 103:1: “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me. Bless His holy name.”

A tombstone that brings tears to my eyes displays two pictures—an oval-shaped photo of a little girl and another photo with her older brother’s arm resting on her right shoulder. The epitaph reads, “Leeanne Tia Niello, May 21, 1998 – Jan. 20, 2003. And Jesus said, ‘I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise’ Luke 23:43.”

That marker also has this statement engraved on it: “Jesus will take care of me, and he will take care of you, too.” Those bittersweet words are followed by Leeanne’s actual signature, written by that little girl who died a few months short of her 5th birthday.

Will your epitaph be as inspiring?

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