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Some Visitors To Long Island Decide To Stay ‘Forever,’ …Literally

October 28, 2015

Lots of famous people who visited Long Island or grew up here and enjoyed the beaches, parks, golf, local food and history might have thought at some point or another that they never want to leave… And well, the truth is, some haven’t.

Long Island, NY is well known for the’ rich and famous,’ who made this their home and their summer playground. But did you know there are many who also made Long Island their final resting place, from President Theodore Roosevelt to Artists Jackson Pollock and Lee Krasner. Even President Richard Nixon thought his favorite dog Checkers should ‘lie down’ here for the last time.

Following is a list of famous persons who will remain ‘forever’ on Long Island.

Checkers (President Richard Nixon’s dog)
Bide-A-Wee Pet Cemetery, Wantagh, Long Island
Checkers touched the nation’s hearts when then Vice Presidential Candidate Nixon was accused of setting up a secret slush fund. Nixon appeared on television and said that the only gift he’d received from his political cronies was Checkers. He said that his children loved that dog, and he wasn’t going to give him back, even if it was a crime.  Nixon never lived on Long Island and buried Checkers at the Bide-A-Wee Pet Cemetery in Wantagh because it was the largest pet cemetery, befitting a Presidential pooch’s stature.

President Theodore Roosevelt
Youngs Memorial Cemetery, Oyster Bay Cove NY
October 27, 1858 – January 6, 1919
Known for his anti-monopoly policies, conservationism, and energetic vision to help bring the nation into the new century, Theodore Roosevelt was governor of New York, then U.S. vice president before becoming the 26th U.S. President. During his presidency Roosevelt and his family spent seven summers in Cove Neck, Long Island at Sagamore Hill; a home that he had built during his first marriage. After his presidency in 1908 Roosevelt made Sagamore Hill his permanent residence. Roosevelt died at Sagamore Hill in January 1919.

Band Leader Guy Lombardo
Pinelawn Memorial Park, Farmingdale NY
June 19, 1902 – November 5, 1977
Gaetano Alberto “Guy” Lombardo was a Canadian-American bandleader and violinist. He formed the band “The Royal Canadians” in 1924 leading “the Lombardos” to international success. The Royal Canadians were noted for playing the traditional New Year’s Eve song Auld Lang Syne as part of the celebration. Their song stills plays as the first song of the New Year in Time Square. During Lombardo’s later years he lived in Freeport, Long Island and became an avid hydroplane speedboat racer winning many awards. He also invested in a nearby seafood restaurant and became promoter and musical director of Jones Beach Marine Theater, which was built specifically with him in mind by Robert Moses.

Jazz Musician John Coltrain
Pinelawn Memorial Park, Farmingdale NY
September 23, 1926 – July 17, 1967
Known as one of the pioneers of Jazz music, John Coltrane lived in Dix Hills, Long Island with his wife and four children for two years, from 1965 until his death in 1967.  The influence Coltrane has had on music spans many genres and musicians. Coltrane’s massive influence on jazz, both mainstream and avant-garde, began during his lifetime and continued to grow after his death. He is one of the most dominant influences on post-1960 jazz saxophonists and has inspired an entire generation of jazz musicians. You can pay tribute to him at his final resting place in Farmingdale.

“Andy” Kaufman (TV Show Taxi’s Latka)
Beth David Cemetery, Elmont
January 17, 1949 – May 16, 1984
Born in Great Neck, Long Island, Andy Kaufman was a popular entertainer, actor and performance artist. He was often referred to as a comedian, which Kaufman did not consider himself to be. He referred to himself as a “song-and-dance man” because he did not like telling jokes or traditional comedy.  Best known for his character Latka Graves on the sitcom Taxi from 1978 to 1983. Allegedly Kaufman told many people that he wanted to fake his own death leaving many people to believe that his death in 1984 was staged. However, we have it on good authority that he lies here in Elmont, NY.

“Bob” Keeshan (TV’s Captain Kangaroo)
Saint Joseph’s Cemetery, Babylon, NY
June 27 1927 – January 23, 2004
Robert James Keeshan was born in Lynbrook, Long Island and is best known as the main character on the children’s television program Captain Kangaroo which he described as based on “the warm relationship between grandparents and children.” The show was successful for nearly three decades from 1955 to 1984. Keeshan left Captain Kangaroo when his contract ended in December of 1984 and became an advocate for children as well as an author and received several honorary doctorates from several New York Colleges. On January 23, 2004 Robert Keeshan died in Windor, Vermont. He is survived by his three children.

‘Spies’ Julius and Ethel Rosenburg
Wellwood Cemetery, Babylon, NY
September 25, 1915 – June 19, 1953 (Ethel)
May 12, 1918 – June 19, 1953 (Julius)
Julius and Ethel Rosenburg met in 1936 when they both joined the Young Communist League. They married in 1939; Julius worked as an engineer-inspector and Ethel was a secretary at a shipping company. On March 29th 1951 the Rosenburgs were convicted of conspiracy to commit espionage, relating to passing information about the atomic bomb to the Soviet Union, and sentenced to death. Other atomic spies were caught by the FBI but gave confessions and were not executed, including Ethel’s brother, David Greenglass. The Rosenburgs were executed by electric chair at sundown on June 19, 1953 and both are buried at Wellwood Cemetery.

Artist Jackson Pollock
Green River Cemetery, Springs, Long Island
January 28, 1912 – August 11, 1956
In October of 1945 Jackson Pollock married American painter Lee Krasner, and in November of that year they moved to 830 Springs Fireplace Road, in Springs Long Island, NY; known now as the Pollock-Krasner House and Studio. Pollock is most famous for the Abstract Expressionist painting style call “drip technique,” which he developed while living on Long Island. After struggling with alcoholism for his entire adult life, Pollock died in a car accident less than a mile from his home while under the influence of alcohol. You can visit his house and studio, see where the accident occurred, and visit him at nearby Green River Cemetery.

Artist Lee Krasner
Green River Cemetery, Springs, Long Island
October 27, 1908 – June 19, 1984
Coping with her sudden lost, Lee Krasner focused on her first passion: painting, and moved back to Manhattan. In the late 1950’s Krasner created Earth Green and Night Journey series and in 1965 she had a solo exhibition at the Whitechapel Gallery in London, followed by a 1975 exhibition at the Whitney. Krasner died of diverticulitis on June 19, 1984.  Both Jackson Pollock and Lee Krasner are buried in Green River Cemetery in Springs Long Island with a large boulder marking Pollack’s grave and a small boulder marking Krasner’s grave.

NY Architect Stanford White
Saint James Episcopal Church Graveyard, Saint James, Long Island
November 7, 1853 – June 25, 1906
Stanford White an American architect and partner in the architectural firm McKim, Mead & White, was famous for designing numerous homes for the rich as well as public, institutional and religious buildings, from the Metropolitan Club at 60th and Fifth to the old Penn Station. In 1884 he married Bessie Springs Smith who was from a prominent Long Island family. Their estate, Box Hill located on the North Shore of Long Island offered prospective wealthy clients a showplace for White to illustrate his luxe designs. Also known as a serial seducer of young girls, he maintained a multi-story apartment in Manhattan with a rear entrance, where he could “wine and dine” in seclusion. On June 25th, 1906 White was shot at Madison Square Garden by Harry Thaw, the husband of one of Whites former lovers.

-Compiled by Aida Jackson

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