Have I mentioned before that my family and Dave’s were savers? Yep, I think I have. Among the boxes and drawers of photos and papers that my Nana, Julia Scerbak Sabo, kept were the original design for what became the family headstone at St. Michael’s Cemetery in South Hackensack, Bergen County, New Jersey.
Headstone Design with “Sazbo” Misspelled
My grandfather, George Kucharik, aka George Sabo, died in 1936 in the midst of the Great Depression. My grandparents not only saved papers, they saved money and Nana was able to have a beautiful gravestone designed.
I found the original sketch in her papers. It was too large to scan in one image at home so Dave scanned it in four sections and then pieced them together. That is why there is a space down the middle of the drawing.
She also kept the deed to the plot at St. Michael’s Cemetery:
Deed to Grave at St. Michael’s Cemetery
I am actually a bit shocked because my grandfather’s gravesite cost $200, which was a small fortune during the Depression.
How did the gravestone turn out?
It is a beautiful headstone and is unique, at least in St. Michael’s Cemetery. Our surname spelling was corrected and I am surprised that the cross was not added to the stone, as Nana was very religious. The 1937 picture was taken soon after it was placed on my grandfather’s grave. The little girl is Nana’s niece, the daughter of her brother, Pete.
Through the years, Nana went regularly to the cemetery to not only visit my grandfather’s grave site, but to visit the graves of other family and friends. She actually knew most of the people who had been buried there since the cemetery didn’t open until the early 1920s.
The gravestone in the left forefront below that only has “AK” and “71” is the headstone of her brother, Peter Scerbak, who died in 1971.
Dave had Nana stand next to the Sabo headstone when we visited in 1981. Notice that she has her gardening gloves on. She was 88 years old and still pulling weeds at the cemetery!
Nana at St. Michael’s Cemetery
Nana died four years later, in May 1985, and was finally reunited with the love of her life, my grandfather, George.