The Rest of the Best: The 10 Most Awesome People Buried in Houston
Houston has some really kickass cemeteries, everything from lovingly maintained pastoral settings of dignity to overgrown, forgotten, and probably haunted as hell boneyards with nothing but rusting signs to identify them. Trust me, a cemetery tour in Houston is a lot of fun.
Photo by Patrick Feller Olivewood Cemetery
While we're not overly burdened with celebrities, we do lay claim to some extremely awesome people who chose to make their final rest here in the city. Today we salute the ten most amazing folks you can visit in the cemetery to leave flowers, pour out a drink, and aspire to the same level of accomplishment.
10. Ben Taub (1889-1982)
John Nova Lomax Protests over the proposed shutting of Ben Taub's pediatrics unit
Buried: Congregation Beth Israel Cemetery
Odds are if you live in Houston, you probably need to go thank Ben Taub at some point. An incredible philanthropist, the list of things he accomplished for this city is miles long. The land that the University of Houston sits on? He donated it to provide a more stable educational opportunity in Houston. He helped bring Baylor College of Medicine to the city, ran the United Way, and served as head of the Texas Medical Center. Though never married, he was instrumental in running the DePelchin Children's Center, which still aids more than 20,000 kids a year with mental health issues and welfare services. You'd be hard-pressed to find a man who affected us in a more benevolent way.
9. Kathryn Jewel Thorne (1936 - 1999)
Buried: Forest Park East Cemetery
When you bear the nickname of the Swamp Boogie Queen, you'd better damn well live up to it. Thorne did. She grew up the daughter of a reformed ragtime pianist turned Pentecostal preacher who was so worried about the evils of demon music infecting his daughter that he locked up the family piano to keep her away from it. It did no good, and Thorne became infamous for her skills as a blues vocalist, organist, and harmonica player. She made her name as a session pianist on more than 500 albums until Otis Redding personally requested she work with him. She toured with Redding until his untimely death on a plane crash in 1974, and retired for much of the '70s out of grief. She staged a successful comeback, and was once again a prolific musician until a stroke ended her career.
8. Gino Hernandez (1957 - 1986)
Buried: Memorial Oaks Cemetery
The pro-wrestler known as "The Handsome Half-Breed," got his start working for the one and only Sheik in Michigan, and went on to hold an astonishing seven titles more than 20 times in NWA Big Time Wrestling/World Class Champion Wrestling. He was a thorn in the side of the legendary Von Erich family, teamed with a young Jake "The Snake" Roberts, and more or less invented the concept of cutting off an opponent's hair after a successful match. His sudden death at the young age of 28 cut short one of the most promising careers in wrestling history, and though it was ruled a drug overdose, to this day rumors abound that something more sinister was at work behind the loss of the rising superstar.
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