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June 2021

Unconventional Residents
of Crown Hill Cemetery 

This month we’re highlighting some people for whom the only thing they have in common is that they were uncommon people.

Elfrieda Mais LaPlante, Airplane Wing Walker
and Stunt Driver

(June 19, 1893-September 27, 1934)
Elfrieda Mais LaPlante
Born in Indianapolis in 1893, Elfrieda was already working as an airplane stunt woman and wing walker by 1910. In 1912, she switched to driving race cars, but because sanctioning bodies didn’t allow women to compete against men, she was mostly limited to performing stunts and racing against the clock.
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Herbert (Herbie) A. Wirth, Humble Salesman Who Had One of Crown Hill’s Largest Funerals
(June 1897-January 30, 1971)
Written by Douglas Wissing, from Crown Hill History|Spirit|Sanctuary
Herbie Wirth
Herbie was a bird of a man, scarcely five feet tall, maybe a hundred or so pounds. Each day, six days a week, he would head out on his route — an elderly, stooped man with two shopping bags filled with his wares: kitchen towels, washcloths, potholders, bandanas and an array of shoelaces in various hues.
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Nellie Simmons Meier, Palm Reader to the Stars
(November 10, 1862-March 24, 1944)
Nellie Simmons Meier
In the 1930s, you could address a letter to “Tuckaway” from America or Europe, and it would find its way to the cottage on North Pennsylvania Street where Nellie lived with her husband George, a famous designer of expensive dresses.
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Howard S. Garns, Inventor of Sudoku
(March 2, 1905-October 6, 1989)
Howard Garns
A sharp-dressing, whistling architect with a thin mustache by day, Howard Garns was intrigued by puzzles. In 1979, in his spare time, he developed a number puzzle he called “The Number Place,” and it was first published as Number Place in the May 1979 issue of Dell Pencil Puzzles and Word Games.
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