Monday, December 29, 2014

Wordcraft -- Readers’ favorite posts: and the winner is. . .

With major changes coming to this blog next year, I’m using these last December weeks of Wordcraft to count down readers’ all-time favorite posts. The all-time favorite was about famous people buried in Dallas, most especially musician Stevie Ray Vaughan, who received a posthumous Christmas present this month with his nomination to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. I visited his grave in Dallas’s Laurel Land Cemetery Christmas Eve for this updated photo with its fan tributes of flowers and guitar picks to go with “Dallas dead, the famed & the infamous,” originally posted October 25, 2013.


Maybe it’s the spate of ghost walks that spring up around Halloween, maybe it’s the looming anniversary of President Kennedy’s assassination, but I set out to explore the gravesites of some of Dallas’ famous¾ and infamous¾ residents. A young woman in the office at Laurel Land Cemetery in South Dallas, last resting place of both musician Stevie Ray Vaughan and J.D. Tippit, the policeman killed while confronting Kennedy assassin Lee Harvey Oswald, provided a map, marking the location of Vaughan’s grave. I had to give her the section number for Tippit’s, who was buried well before she was born, but a passing maintenance worker also helped point me to the location. Besides these two, I’ll also list the graves of others famous or infamous in the Dallas area. Lure older children and teens on a tour of history by telling them it’s a ghost walk--but only during daylight hours, please!

Stephen (Stevie Ray) Vaughan (1954-1990) -- Laurel Land Cemetery, 6000 South R.L. Thornton Freeway (I-35E), Dallas. From I-35, take exit 420 toward Laureland Road and stop inside for direction. The Vaughan family’s private plot isn’t marked on the cemetery map, but probably anyone in the office can indicate it for you. Currently, the tree-shaded
plot between sections 10 and 11 holds only Stevie Ray’s grave, shown in the illustration for this post, and those of his parents.

I didn’t expect to find business cards among the memorial glass pebbles, crosses, and wire bracelets visitors have left on Stevie Ray’s grave. But we all mourn in our own way. Who am I to say cards bearing the mourner’s names and businesses aren’t appropriate?

In addition to Vaughan, entertainers buried in the Dallas area include murdered guitarist Darrell “Dimebag” Abbott (1966-2004), in Moore Memorial Gardens Cemetery, 1219 North Davis, Arlington; and British-born actress Greer Garson (1904-1996), buried beside oilman-husband Buddy Fogelson, at Sparkman-Hillcrest Cemetery, 7405 West Northwest Highway, Dallas.

J.D. Tippit (1924-1963) -- Laurel Land Cemetery, 6000 South R.L. Thornton Freeway, Dallas. Tippit’s grave is in section 62, Lot 1, Space 7. Look for a modest marker against the fence fronting East Laureland road, near a stone bench.

The killer of Tippit (and most likely also of Kennedy), Lee Harvey Oswald (1939-1963), is buried in Rose Hill Memorial Park, 7301 East Lancaster Avenue, Fort Worth. His marker there is a replacement for the stolen original. Other outlaws buried in the Dallas area include Clyde Barrow (1904-1934) and his brother Buck, in Western Heights Cemetery, 1617 Fort Worth Avenue, Dallas; and Clyde’s lover and fellow outlaw Bonnie Parker (1910-1934), in Crown Hill Memorial Park, 9700 Webb Chapel Road, Dallas.

Mickey Mantle (1913-1990) is the most famous athlete buried in Dallas, at Sparkman-Hillcrest Memorial Park, 7405 West Northwest Highway. The grave of the New York Yankee Hall of Fame member is in the Saint Matthew Mausoleum. Sparkman-Hillcrest is also the site of Dallas Cowboys head football coach Thomas Wade “Tom” Landry’s grave (1924-2000). Stop by the cemetery’s office for directions. Or for GPS coordinates to these and other famous burials in the cemetery, go to
For information about gravesites of the famous and infamous, I also got help from


Next week, this blog undergoes a major schedule change. Wordcraft will post on Tuesdays beginning January 6, 2015. Adventure classics will post on Fridays beginning January 9, 2015. (The final Adventure classics post for 2014 will be December 31.) Totally Texas has now been discontinued. However, illustrations from previous years’ Totally Texas posts will remain online at my Pinterest page,

A happy New Year and thanks to all of you who have visited this site more than 40,000 times!

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