Life – for all of us, it’s terminal
Wow! Did I wake up on the wrong side of the bed or what?
As I approach my 40th year on earth – some 12 years ago – I am thinking about it a little more.
No, I’m fine. Things that didn’t make a sound before, now creak a little. (Is that snickering I hear from my young editor, Kyle? “Et tu, Brute?”).
I’ve always had a fascination with famous people whether they’re alive or dead. Some would say, that’s sick, to which I reply, “Consider the source.” That ends the conversation right there.
Have you ever watched an old TV show or movie and wondered if the actor or actress was still on this side of the grass? (Which every morning is a good thing, right?)
So, as written here in the DCP a few weeks back, we had a wonderful trip with my teenage daughters to California. Part spent in Los Angeles and a small part in Palm Springs. It’s a two-hour drive from the madness and mayhem of LA; many stars, then and now, use the desert and adjoining cities as a respite to get away from it all, yet be close to recording and movie studios. Frank called Palm Springs home; he loved it so much he wanted to remain there after his time on Earth.
When my mom lived there for years, it came to my attention that singer/song stylist/superstar Frank Sinatra was buried in one of the city cemeteries. It is the Desert Memorial Park Cemetery, also the final resting place of many stars like Sonny Bono and – I’m going way back here – actor William Powell and actress Betty Hutton.
Right here at Woodland Cemetery – which new newscasters in town seem to call Woodlawn – we have the biggies, Wilbur and Orville Wright and Paul Lawrence Dunbar, to name a few. I didn’t realize, though, some of the other movers and shakers from the past who not only put their marks on Dayton and the Miami Valley, but the world, too, are also at Woodland.
Woodland is the final resting place for award-winning writer and humorist, Erma Bombeck. Many remember her weekly columns on family life and her appearances on “Good Morning, America” always with a smile afterwards. When you heard the commercial jingle, “Let your fingers do the walking through the Yellow Pages,” it was all thanks to L.M. Berry, founder of the Yellow Pages – he’s here, too.
Others include James and John Ritty, inventors of the cash register; Clarence “Satch” Satchell Page, who had a 30-year career as a professional saxophonist and flutist, noted foremost as a founding member of The Ohio Untouchables, which later became the Grammy nominated Funk/Soul band, The Ohio Players, is buried here.
Now we’re going way back – Roger Williams, who often worked in Westerns as a character actor, is buried here. He is remembered for films such as “Trouble Busters” (1933), “The Pecos Kid” (1935), “Wagon Trail” (1935), “Valley of Terror” (1937), “Heroes of the Alamo” (1937) and more. You can also find Valentine Winters, founder of Winters Bank, which was the former name of the Kettering Tower, who is also the great-great-grandfather of comedian Jonathan Winters.
Speaking of Kettering … Charles Kettering, who – among other things – founded DELCO, invented the first electrical ignition system and co-created the self-starter for automobile engines, along with his colleague Colonel Edward Deeds, is also at Woodland. The Colonel has a carillon bell tower named after him, and Mr. K., a city.
Al Tucker Jr., who played in the National Basketball Association (NBA) from 1967–1971 as a member of the Seattle SuperSonics, Cincinnati Royals, Chicago Bulls and Baltimore Bullets. Andrew Iddings, famous explorer and photographer of foreign lands. He invented the stereo-optic (3D) camera.
John Patterson, founder of NCR, and a little known fact – Frank Patterson’s final resting place is here, too. He was a U.S. military test pilot killed in a plane crash at the old Wright Field. His name was added to create Wright-Patterson AFB.
Johnny Shackleford was a national sprint car racer. He died in a crash at the old Dayton Speedway. Preserved Smith is preserved here. He was a partner in the old Barney and Smith Railroad Car Company.
Also here … George Huffman, founder of the Davis Sewing Machine Company – later becoming Huffy Bicycle Corporation. Charme Allen, a radio actress who was a regular announcer on NBC. Leslie Carter, an actress in the late 1800s, known as the “American Sarah Bernhardt.”
How about this? Dr. William Charch was the developer of cellophane. I’m wondering if he was wrapped in it before being lowered in.
There are many more, but alas, I’m out of space. Woodland is a living, breathing wonderful gem in our Gem City. Plus, it offers one of the greatest views of downtown. Check it out sometime, you also may come across a Bucher or two.
But not me – at least not yet.
For more than 25 years, “Buch” has been a local television icon. Known and loved by thousands in the Miami Valley, his followers describe him as trust-worthy, fun, the guy next door, a friend and a role model. When it comes to promoting your business, Buch has the ability to grab your customer’s attention. Reach DCP freelance writer Jim Bucher at JimBucher@DaytonCityPaper.com.