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Many Notable Personalities will call
Orange County "Home" for Eternity

May 25, 2001

Photography by STEVE ZYLIUS
Story by STEVE EDDY
The Orange County Register

NIXON'S THE ONE

 
 

THE NATION'S 37th president, Richard Nixon, is buried at the Richard Nixon Library & Birthplace in Yorba Linda.

 
Richard Milhous Nixon and his wife, Pat, lie under identical monuments in a colorful rose garden on the grounds of the Richard Nixon Library & Birthplace. The grave site is near the little house where the nation's 37th president was born in 1913. His inscription reads, "The greatest honor history can bestow is the title of peacemaker." Nixon, of course, came to prominence as a communist-fighting California congressman and served two terms as Dwight D. Eisenhower's vice president. He was narrowly defeated for the presidency in 1960 by John Kennedy and ran unsuccessfully for governor of California in 1962. He was elected president in 1968 and 1972 but was forced to resign in 1974 in the wake of the Watergate scandal. Nixon died in 1994 after suffering a stroke.

Nixon Library & Birthplace is at 18001 Yorba Linda Blvd., Yorba Linda.

CLOSE TO YOU

 
 

POP SINGER Karen Carpenter is buried at the Ascension Mausoleum, Forest Lawn, Cypress. She died in 1983 after suffering from anorexia.

 
The remains of Karen Anne Carpenter, half of the immensely popular Downey singing duo the Carpenters, rest at the Sanctuary of Compassion in the Ascension Mausoleum, Forest Lawn, Cypress. It is one of the most impressive monuments at the sprawling cemetery. Karen Carpenter, born in 1950, had a crystal-clear, sweet voice that graced hit records such as "Close to You," "Yesterday Once More" and "Top of the World." An anorexia sufferer, she died in 1983. Her memorial reads: "A STAR ON EARTH - A STAR IN HEAVEN."

Carpenter is buried at Forest Lawn, Cypress, 4471 Lincoln Ave.

SUMMERTIME BLUES

 
 

ROCK 'N' ROLL pioneer Eddie Cochran is buried at Forest Lawn, Cypress. He was killed in a car crash in Britain in 1960.

 
If Eddie Cochran is not afforded the same reputation as other rock 'n' roll pioneers, it is because of his extremely short life and career. Born in 1938, Cochran had few hits, but several are enduring classics, including "Summertime Blues" and "Twenty Flight Rock." He was killed in a car crash in Britain in 1960.

In part, a tribute on his gravestone reads:

"Heavenly music filled the air ... That very tragic day ... Something seemed to be missing tho ... So I heard the creator say ... 'We need a master guitarist and singer ... I know of but one alone ... His name is Eddie Cochran ... I think I'll call him home.'"

Cochran is buried at Forest Lawn, Cypress, 4471 Lincoln Ave.

THE ONE AND ONLY DUKE

 
 

ORANGE COUNTY'S most famous actor, John Wayne, is buried on this hillside at Pacific View Memorial Park in Newport Beach. He died of cancer in 1979.

 
Marion Michael Morrison, better known to the world as John Wayne or Duke, was an actor, patriot and American cultural icon. His film legacy includes "Stagecoach," "She Wore a Yellow Ribbon," "Rio Bravo" and "True Grit." Wayne, of Newport Beach, died in 1979 of cancer. His tombstone has a Western scene and this message: "Tomorrow is the most important thing in life. Comes into us at midnight very clean. It's perfect when it arrives and it puts itself in our hands. It hopes we've learned something from yesterday."

Wayne is buried at Pacific View Memorial Park, 3500 Pacific View Drive, Newport Beach.

RUN, FLO-JO, RUN

 
 

OLYMPIC TRACK STAR Florence Delorez Joyner, known as Flo-Jo, is buried at El Toro Memorial Park in Lake Forest. She died in 1998.

 
One of America's greatest track stars, Florence Delorez Joyner (born 1959) combined extreme athletic prowess along with a model-quality beauty and glamour. She became one of the highest-paid sports figures in the world. She won three gold medals in the 1988 Olympics. She died of an apparent heart seizure in 1998.

Joyner is buried at El Toro Memorial Park, 25751 Trabuco Road, Lake Forest.

GUITAR MAN

 
 

ELECTRIC GUITAR inventor Leo Fender is buried in a grassy area at Fairhaven Memorial Park in Santa Ana. He died in 1991.

 
If rock and roll indeed will never die, you can ascribe much if its longevity to Orange County native Clarence Leonidas Fender (1909-91), better known as Leo. At age 13, he took up electronics as a hobby and later in life owned a radio-repair shop and became interested in guitars and amplifiers. His own Fender guitar became the choice of many popular musicians, especially in the rock genre, and especially his legendary Stratocaster model.

Fender is buried at Fairhaven Memorial Park, 1702 Fairhaven Ave., Santa Ana, Lawn Section J.

HE WENT THE WRONG WAY

In 1938, Douglas Corrigan sought permission from the Civil Aviation Authority to fly from New York to Ireland. He was turned down, with officials saying his plane was in poor condition. He appeared to accede to the decision and took off for California. But he headed out over the Atlantic anyway and landed in Ireland, saying the problem could have been a faulty compass. When he returned to America, the upstart "Wrong Way" Corrigan was hailed as a hero, and more than a million people lined Broadway in New York for a ticker-tape parade. He died in 1995.

Corrigan is interred at Fairhaven Memorial Park.

'IF IT DOESN'T FIT, YOU MUST ACQUIT'

Nicole Brown Simpson (1959-94) is "always in our hearts," reads the inscription on her stone at Ascension Cemetery in Lake Forest. She was undeniably in the minds of millions after she was viciously murdered in 1994 along with friend Ronald Goldman. Her ex-husband, O.J. Simpson, who had abused her, was found not guilty of the crimes in what pundits called the Trial of the Century.

Simpson is buried at Ascension Cemetery, 24754 Trabuco Road, Lake Forest. If you choose to trek through Orange County's graveyards, wear sensible shoes. You will be going on a hike. Some of the grave sites are hard to find, even if you are provided with lot or plot numbers. And in the morning hours, the grass is likely to be dewy. Be aware that much of the terrain is uneven; be prepared for a lot of uphill walking. Bring water.

Other notables

Holy Sepulchre Cemetery, 7845 Santiago Canyon Road, Orange:

Ruby Keeler, actress, wife of Al Jolson; Section N, Tier 21, Grave 46

Melrose Abbey Cemetery and Mausoleum, 2703 Manchester Ave., Anaheim:

Carolyn Jones, "Morticia" on "The Addams Family"; North Patio, 46 gg (in her mother's crypt)

Loma Vista Memorial Park, 701 E. Bastanchury Road, Fullerton:

C.S. Forester, author of Horatio Hornblower novels

Andy Russell, actor, appeared in "Copacabana"

Forest Lawn, 4471 Lincoln Ave., Cypress:

Ken Maynard, cowboy actor (He was Festus in "Gunsmoke.")

Fairhaven Memorial Park, 1702 Fairhaven Ave., Santa Ana:

Corrie Ten Boom, author of "The Hiding Place."

Pierce Lyden, cowboy actor

Glenn Luther Martin, airplane inventor

Pamela Courson, longtime companion of the Doors' Jim Morrison.

Ascension Cemetery, 24754 Trabuco Road, Lake Forest:

William Hanna, "Flintstones" animator

Gail (Da Corsi) Johnson; played Mimi Grosset on "Days of Our Lives."

Pacific View Memorial Park, 3500 Pacific View Drive, Newport Beach:

Paul Mantz, renowned movie stunt pilot

A note on photography

You may notice that the images in the story are different. That's because they were shot on infrared film, which is sensitive to a different part of the light spectrum. Infrared film sees infrared light waves, invisible to the naked eye. The effects are somewhat surreal. Foliage and red roses turn white, blue skies turn very dark, and the image acquires an otherworldly glow. I chose infrared film for this assignment for two reasons. Graves and headstones tend to be stagnant things, and I wanted to make the images more interesting. Second, since we were talking about people who are only memories to us now, I wanted to remove the stark reality of gravesites and replace it with something more representative. Memories tend to be a few steps shifted from reality. We remember our heroes and icons, and our power to recall is sometimes filtered through and softened by time and the static of our daily lives.

 

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