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Our visit to the Timlins

July 17, 2011

A couple of weekends ago, we took a trip to Oak Grove Cemetary. We had learned from their death certificates, a while back, that this is where Irvin and Ruby Timlin are buried. Irvin or I.R. Timlin, is the architect of our BAB and many other Bell buildings. We had a number of other errands to do in the area, so finally decided to make the trip. The cemetery is one of the older ones in St. Louis County but is having a tough time lately. They have filled most of their plots, so little income being generated. It is pretty apparent that they have let some maintenance slide, unfortunately. The Chapel and Mausoleum on the property were recently listed as one of the Most Endangered Properties in Missouri. With little money for maintenance, they haven’t committed resources toward putting their records on-line. They don’t have a website, let alone a grave finder. I got the phone number for the main office, with the help of Esley Hamilton. He always seems to know this kind of information. I called the number he gave me and they said we would have to check in at the main office. They would help us to locate the graves. The office is located in what looks like a house just inside the main gates, an elegant building.

The entrance is on St. Charles Rock Road, just east of Hanley

The office, crowded with papers, is in a corner of the building, the one with the window unit air conditioner.  Their system for locating graves must be original to the property. We told him the name of the grave we were looking for. He pulls out a large ledger and finds the name. He then goes to a stack of index card cabinets, containing hundreds of worn cards and pulls out the Timlins’ records. The information is written in old fashioned hand cursive, but he is able to identify their site. He takes a copy of the site plan and marks the location, telling us to look for the Lindle-Kopf marker. Most of the graves in this cemetary are marked with stones flush to the ground. There are a few upright stones, but those usually mark a family plot that may have several graves.

The Timlin's plot is marked with an X

The grave markers, being flush with the ground, in combination with the limited maintenance, make finding them tricky. The grass almost completely covered the markers. After some hunting, we located them. We removed the over-grown grass and dusted off the red granite. The Timlins don’t appear to have had children and they both moved to St. Louis leaving family in other states. There are likely very few visitors looking for these graves.

We paid our respects

Irvin's and Ruby's grave markers

Very simple inscription on Irvin's marker

Both markers have very little information on them.

Ruby preceeded Irvin in death by two years

We drove around the cemetery, visiting the mausoleum and some other graves.

The main entrance for the mausoleum has some beautiful sculptures

We saw an upright stone for the Kassabaum family and think we located the marker for the George Kassabaum who was the K in HOK. He had passed before I started to work at HOK, but I heard many positive stories about him. He had died suddenly and the firm was grief-stricken at the time. He must have been an admirable leader of the firm.

George Kassabaum’s marker

This visit made me realize that, like the Timlins, Tom and I don’t have kids and we don’t have family in the area. We haven’t before found the need to discuss our ultimate resting place. Cemeteries can be thought of as taking up a lot of space that could be better used for the living. We both actually enjoy visiting cemeteries and learning about their histories. They are often filled with beautiful buildings and sculptures, mature trees and wildlife. They are pretty much like a city park, but more peaceful. I don’t know if we’ll end up in a cemetery, but for now, I’ll make a point to keep the Timlins’ plots tidy.

9 Comments leave one →
  1. Maurine permalink
    July 18, 2011 7:00 pm

    Sue, your comments brought to mind several things. Just before you left home to go to Wash U as a freshman we were invited to attend a picnic somewhere in northern NJ, a collection of W. U. alumni and, I think, entering freshman. I don’t know if you remember or not, but we spent quite some time (at least your father and I did) talking to a young man who worked for ATandT designing their coorporate headquarters and and other buildings. Of course at that late date it wasn’t telephone offices as in the day of your building. Another thing that I remembered was that when I was a child Mother and Daddy would gather all of the flowers from Daddy’s beautiful flower gardens, arrange them in tin cans that had been covered with aluminum foil and taken, on Memorial Day, to the two cemetaries where their families were laid to rest. After putting flowers on all the aunts, uncles, grandparents, and parents graves in Geneseo, we would drive to Ellsworth and do the same their, then join all of Daddy’s brothers and sisters and their families for a big potluck picnic in the Ellsworth park. I loved it because I got to see and play with all of my cousins on the great swings and seesaws that were in the park. My aunts could make some awesome picnic food too. No wimpy hamburges or hotdogs. We had friend chicken, potato salad, lots of jello salads, and lots and lots of cakes and pies. Memorial Day and cemeteries always was celebrated like that in most midwestern towns. at least when I lived there. Bless you for taking care and an interest in the Timlin’s final resting place. It is a good thing to do. Love you, Mom

    • Sue permalink
      July 18, 2011 9:44 pm

      I still need to copy the phone history and mail it to Uncle George. I’m sure he’d have his own perspective as a Bell alum!

  2. Darcy permalink
    July 18, 2011 9:13 am

    What a beautiful mausoleum! How sad that it’s endangered. As far as where you’ll end up – perhaps we could all be cremated as we pass, then spread over Francis Bay when the last of us dies…..

  3. Dustin Bopp permalink
    July 18, 2011 8:56 am

    My paternal grandparents are buried just down the street from there in Zion Cemetery. I am not entirely sure why since it was far from their Kirkwood home and most of their relatives buried at Sunset Burial Park (where the Busch’s are buried) near Grant’s Farm. I have always been fascinated by cemeteries. My maternal grandparents built a house in Manchester in 1970 next to what was then an overgrown cemetery for a German fraternal organization called Harigari. It was almost unrecognizable as a cemetery and any passersby would have dismissed it for a wooded lot but for me, as a child, it was a playground. The marble monuments were well weathered and most dated from the 1850’s. Several years ago the City of Manchester decided to clean it up and add an entry gate with signage. And, while it remains wooded, it can now be enjoyed by the casual observer.

    Obviously, Bellefountaine is the queen of all St. Louis resting places but there are some great one’s just a stone’s throw from our neighbohood. Just the other day we took a lovely walk in Concordia Cemetery on Bates between Grand and Morganford. The founder’s mausoleum is a wonderful little gothic tower with lots of stained glass. Another close by is a Jewish cemetery called New Mt. Sinai on Gravois just west of River Des Peres. The monuments there rival those at Bellefontaine. I was “digging” around there one day and found a monument for the Stix family, then accross the street was the Baer family and next to that the Fuller family. I am guessing you have been in St. Louis long enough to recognize the founders of the Stix, Baer, and Fuller department stores.

    Wow. I can’t believe how many times I just typed “cemetery.”

    • Sue permalink
      July 18, 2011 9:19 am

      Hmm- maybe it is an architect thing, interest in the physical mark a person leaves behind on the world.

      • dby permalink
        July 18, 2011 10:17 am

        It’s very much an architect thing, the interest physical marks left by others, including their own. During my fourth year at school, the fall semester was centered on the design of worship/meditative spaces. A side project was to design our own grave monument or tomb.


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