Sep 23, 2022

Historic Havens: A Walk Among the Tombstones, Part 5

By Lori Draz

Historic Havens once again takes another walk among the tombstones.

Over the years, people have enjoyed this story so much that it has inspired them to visit a few of these graves, so please do and share interesting stories you discover. 

Cemeteries are nothing to fear. They are intriguing places, full of history, incredible artwork and tranquility, so don’t be afraid to visit. Remember you’re just visiting, not moving in – yet. 

Let’s meet some of New Jersey’s famous and fascinating eternal residents.

If you would like to talk to the governor and can’t get Phil Murphy on the line, take a ride to the Allentown Presbyterian Cemetery to meet William Augustus Newell. Newell was actually the 11th governor of the Washington Territory from 1880 to 1884 and a member of Congress along with being a physician. His proudest accomplishment was the creation of the Newell Act, which created the United States Life-Saving Service to rescue shipwrecked mariners and passengers. It became the United States Coast Guard after a merge with the Revenue Cutter Service in 1915.

Leaders of industry can also be found, like Edward Hazard, the Ketchup King. At one time, Hazard’s ketchup and condiment empire occupied most of Shrewsbury and made him a millionaire several times over. He owned a massive, 40-room mansion in Shrewsbury, and though the house is gone, Hazard still resides under an imposing stone in Shrewsbury’s Christ Church.

The show business world is well-represented in the Garden State. 

Musician and composer C. Howard Scott was the first municipal organist to play at Asbury’s Convention Hall in 1931. He had a storied career in music which included more than 5,000 concerts which he synchronized with lighting – a grand sight indeed. Radio Station WCAP broadcast his concerts from their studios at the Convention Hall. He also played at the Mayfair Theater during silent films and created the Asbury Park Civic Oratorio Society and served as Minister of Music at the first Methodist church of Asbury Park. He is buried at Monmouth Memorial Park. 

Known as “The Voice,” Whitney Houston has a surprisingly humble grave, given her record-setting pop icon status. She can be found in Fairview Cemetery in Westfield. Tragically, she was joined by her daughter Bobbi Kristina Brown just three years later. She rests next to Whitney and her maternal grandfather John Russell Houston Jr.

Hey ho, let’s go see Joey Ramone, lead singer of the Ramones, who rests under his real name, Jeffrey Ross Hyman, next to his father in New Mount Zion Cemetery in Lyndhurst. The other band members are in the renowned Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Los Angeles. John William Cummings, “Johnny Ramone,” has this elaborate sculpture on him wailing on his guitar, while Douglas Glenn Colvin aka Dee Dee Ramone opted for a wry comment on his black granite stone.

To leave this section on a high note, meet Nicholas Marsella. Many remember Pistol Pete’s Pizza Parlor in Long Branch. You could get a slice for 35 cents, and each night Marsella would sing Sinatra to close the night. Now, he and Old Blue Eyes are doing an eternal duet in Glenwood Cemetery in West Long Branch.


Another devoted Sinatra fan was this one I happened to find. Simply named Miller, he kept the carvers busy, inscribing the lyrics to Sinatra’s “Always” on his stone.

Some gravestones show a sense of humor too, like the Dallas Walton Brumback grave that says, “Gone upstairs to have coffee with the boys.”

And there are hundreds more famous and fascinating stones, plus ornate mausoleums and memorials, meaning we will be back again next year for another stroll. Explore, enjoy, reflect and remember.