Saturday Smiles – Epitaphs

Cemeteries are fascinating places.

They give glimpses into a person’s essence

as much as they raise  curiosity

sometimes sadness

sometimes unanswered questions…





A widow wrote this epitaph in a Vermont cemetery:
Sacred to the memory of
my husband John Barnes
who died January 3, 1803
His comely young widow, aged 23, has many
qualifications of a good wife, and yearns to be comforted.

Anna Hopewell‘s grave in Enosburg Falls, Vermont has an epitaph that  sounds like something from a Three Stooges movie:
Here lies the body of our Anna
Done to death by a banana
It wasn’t the fruit that laid her low
But the skin of the thing that made her go.




The grave of Ellen Shannon in Girard, Pennsylvania  was fatally burned March 21, 1870
by the explosion of a lamp
filled with “R.E. Danforth’s
Non-Explosive Burning Fluid”

Harry Edsel Smith of Albany, New York:
Born 1903–Died 1942
Looked up the elevator shaft to see if the car was on the waydown.
It was.

Leslie Nielsen, the famous funnyman had his epitaph planned for close to 15 years. He died in 2010, but said in a 1996 interview that he intended to put “Let ‘er rip” on his gravestone. There’s also a bench dedicated to Nielsen nearby; it’s inscribed with “Sit down whenever you can.”


Mr Partridge (died 1861)

What! Kill a partridge in the month of May!

Was that done like a sportsman?  eh, death, eh?


HG Wells (1866 – 1946)

‘Goddamn you all: I told you so.’


WC Fields (1880 – 1946)

Here lies W.C. Fields.

On the whole I would rather be living in Philadelphia.



Dorothy Parker (1893 – 1967)

Excuse my dust.


Raili Tanska

Steps for Peace
Never lose your sense of humour

Images – Pintrest

30 thoughts on “Saturday Smiles – Epitaphs

  1. Well there you go, it doesnt have to be a doom and gloom trip to the cemetary. My mother-in-law once told me, I could have the place for my ashes, beside hers and Bills at the cemetary, so long as I promised not to move the walls. It is a joke with our family, that I move just about every wall possible when I renovate and that my walls should be on wheels so I can just move them. I’ll have to think of something like that for my headstone. I know it is a sad time for you, but reading those headstones, must have made you smile a little.

  2. I liked this post. On my moms headstone my dad came up with “loved Always in All ways.” I think it’s a good little blurb. I told my sister I want to be cremated. No use in wasting money on a coffin. Just cremate me and out me in with mama. Wow. Death. :/

  3. I agree, I often when visiting such places often wonder upon the lives of those whose names are on the stones.. I once had a friend who when visiting places around the world would take pictures of grave yards.. Such was her interest in them..

    Wishing you a Peaceful weekend Raili.. :-0

  4. Oh my gosh I love cemeteries! They are such quiet places and great places to contemplate life. Not to mention they are forgotten by most so I love visiting them and remembering those buried there.

  5. Oh! I just love this post! I have often thought about epitaphs and wondered why we ALL don’t choose to write something meaningful or funny. That way, if others pass our graves, if they don’t know us, they might still have a thoughtful moment or smile based on what we believed about in life. And for those who do know us, when they pass our graves, they will remember what meant the most to us.

  6. Yes there are many funny headstones around. There is one of a sculpted naked women who lays on top of the stone, length of the grave, quit nicely done. There are also many of them of motorbikes. It surely is interesting.

  7. I love graveyard humour. I’d never heard of the W.C. Fields one. It might have been what inspired UK comedian Spike Milligan’s “I told you I was ill.”

    I like this, seen on gravestone down the road from where I used to live:

    Behold all you who pass here by;
    as you are now, so once was I.
    As I am now, so you will be;
    prepare for death and follow me.

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