Sunday, October 25, 2015

Buried history

Sometimes we all need a grim reminder of mortality.

How's that for a lively first sentence in a blog entry? I stumbled across this slightly weird story - just in time for Halloween - about a semi-retired Purdue professor named Dale Hoppe. Instead of collecting stamps or writing a blog, he visits gravesites of the well-known and the sort of well-known. He takes pictures of the graves and keeps them in binders labeled "Famous Dead People." There's a photo of Mr. Hoppe to prove this.

One of his first finds was the grave of Password legend Allen Ludden, shown in the picture. This is how his hobby got started...
Some years ago, I went with my wife, Mary, to stay at a bed and breakfast in Mineral Springs, Wis., which is right over the Illinois state line. While at breakfast, some of the others around the table started talking about how Betty White's husband, Allen Ludden, the game show host, is buried just down the road in the cemetery near this little inn where we were staying. As it turns out, he was originally from Mineral Springs. So when he died at age 63 in 1981, he wanted to be back home.
It's a little sad that Mr. Hoppe first remembered Allen Ludden as the husband of Betty White. The guy had other claims to fame, after all. One thing I didn't know but learned from the photo of his grave is that Ludden was an Army captain in World War II. Wikipedia says he won the Bronze Star.

Mr. Hoppe wishes that more of the famous dead from his northwest Indiana area would have made the last trip home to be buried. "I wish some of the big names like Betsy Palmer, who was from East Chicago...would have made a final return to Indiana." I checked Find a Grave but couldn't discover exactly where the I've Got a Secret panelist is buried. R.I.P., wherever.


  1. Tuesday 10/27 is the 35th anniversary of the airing Allen Ludden's last first-run episode of Password(Password PLus). It aired on a Monday on 10/27/80 as the weeks were running Tue-Fri,Mon back then due to preemptions. Also known as the day Las Vegas Gambit and Blockbusters replaced Letterman's daytime gig.

  2. i spent 2 afternoons on an LA vacay years ago visiting two cemeteries.
    hey, if they don't want to be bothered, they can ask to be cremated & scattered, right?

    1. But taking pictures of the graves and putting them in binders? Well, it's not hurting anybody, I guess (wink). And I put a picture of Allen Ludden's grave on the blog, after all (double wink).