"If you can't get rid of the family skeleton, you may as well make it dance"
-George Bernard Shaw

Friday, July 10, 2009

Finding Famous Graves and Local "celebrities"

When I was thinking about this week's Gena-Bloggers prompt about visiting a local cemetery and writing about famous people buried within the cemetery, of course I thought of the largest cemetery locally and the people who I would consider famous to some level or another.

Oakwood Cemetery in Traverse City has a few 'famous' people buried within it's 40 plus acres of land. Some of the people are buried within are more locally famous than know outside the Grand Traverse Region.

The first person to come to mind is Perry Hannah. Mr. Hannah was a local lumber baron and a founding father of Traverse City. Ask anyone who is native to Traverse City and chances are they know something about Perry Hannah, even if it is just that he built the massive mansion on sixth street, which now occupies a local funeral home. Mr. Hannah was largely responsible and had an influence over many developments in Traverse City including the state hospital, the large state bank and even the cemetery in which he now rests in with his family. Perry Hannah was born 24 Sept 1824 outside of Erie Pennsylvania and died just a month short of his 80th birthday on 13 Aug 1904 just a few days after suffering a paralytic stroke.

Another person layed to rest in Oakwood cemetery is Donald Melvoin or better known to many adults my age as Deputy Don or Firemand Freddy. Deptuy Don was a favorite Saturday morning kids show. Mr. Melvoin lived out his years in Traverse City after retiring from his acting career. He was born 26 October 1922 and died 8 April 2002.

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