Roger “Hurricane” Wilson Secures Markers For Childhood Neighbors Lying in Unmarked Graves For Nearly 60 Years
Anna Eberle was my nextdoor neighbor when I was a child in Keansburg, NJ. She resided there a long time before we ever moved there in 1954 when I was one year old. Originally from East Orange, NJ., she lived there with her husband, Jack, a WWI Veteran, and her brother, Freddy Heilbronn. Freddy never married. They were basically poor people who lived in an uninsulated bungalow heated by coal and kerosene stoves in the winter, cooled somewhat by portable fans that basically just moved the intense upstairs heat around. The primitive bathroom at the rear of the house was added later when the concept of an outhouse was becoming less fashionable. My house was a similar type bungalow that my dad took out an additional small mortage on to make the place livable year round. It still had the outhouse sidewalk leading to the structure when we moved in. It was my tricycle raceway the whole time until I could get up on two wheels.
I was aware of Jack, Anna, and Freddy, but I was only four, so I was never really able to carry on a conversation with Jack, a large and robust man with large suspenders as I remember. The reason was that he backed up into the huge coal stove in the kitchen one day in 1958, which lead to his death from a massive heart attack. Then it was just sister and brother, Anna and Freddy on their own. I got to know Freddy somewhat, as I would see him sitting in the front window when I would come home on my bike. It was then that I would visit Anna and Freddy now and then, but that run was short lived. Freddy passed away in his sleep in 1960 when I was seven. I would visit Anna regularly later on, developing my taste for and learning to love coffee. She basically lived on Sanka coffee along with jelly and margarine on pumpernickel bread, since her doctor had declared butter illegal as part of her diet. Anna passed away in 1964 when I was ten, and it was then I really learned the heartbreak of losing a good friend.
Back in 1992, I stopped by to visit their final resting places while on a Northeast tour. When I inquired at the office to look up the name Anna Eberle, there was no record of her to be found. They said she wasn’t there. I was mortified and begged to differ since I was at her funeral at age ten, witnessing her being lowered into the ground. I did find Jack’s location and I knew Anna was in there. I was shocked to find that there was nothing but blank space marking theirs and Freddy’s plots. That was twenty-five years ago from this writing.
Jump ahead to early 2017 with my disapproval of their being unaccounted for eternity still circulating. I decided to call Fair View Cemetery to inquire about getting markers for both plots. The price would have totaled about $2500.00 to create the markers and have them installed on foundations to keep them from sinking into the ground. That, along with approximately the $900.00 cost of engraving put that venture way out of my price range., At least I was glad to know as a result of my phone call that Ann Eberle was now listed in the books and accounted for.
Now I’m again in New Jersey during the the summer of 2017 hanging with some early friends and band mates in between solo dates on a summer solo tour, and I decide that I am going to revisit the situation. In explaining my story of knowing these people since early childhood to the superintendent of the cemetery, he agreed that it wasn’t right for them to be unaccounted for. Since Jack was a WWI veteran, he and his family should be acknowledged. Out of their kindness and understanding of this situation, Fair View Cemetery in Red Bank, NJ said they are willing to donate and place the markers free of charge.
Jack, and wife, Anna Eberle are buried in one unmarked grave. Her brother, Freddy, is in another a short distance away. They were good people, and I’m tired of knowing that they have been lying in their graves unmarked and forgotten about for nearly 60 years. Thankfully, that’s about to change. I wrote and recorded the song about Anna entitled, THE BALLAD OF ANNA EBERLE, who was a good friend. It will be released commercially soon. While visiting their plots, I found a wayward American flag lying under a bush, so I placed it over Jack and Anna’s unmarked grave that you can see here, which will be marked soon. There is no next of kin, so I may be the only one in the world that remembers them. If you would care to contribute, the help needed here is to offset the $900.00 cost of the two markers for three good but simple people that deserve to be remembered. Anything is appreciated. Check it out here: https://www.gofundme.com/markers-4-2-60-yr-unmarked-graves