HOLY SEPULCHRE CEMETERY & MAUSOLEUM
25800 West 10 Mile Road
Southfield, MI 48033
Established: Cemetery: 1928 ~ Mausoleum: 1950
No Official Website
Bella Morte Rating: Cemetery: 1.5 Tombstones ~ Mausoleum: 3.5 Tombstones
Owned and operated by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Detroit, Holy Sepulchre Cemetery is, for the most part, a memorial park type cemetery with a preponderance of flush markers set amidst expanses of grass. To their credit, the architects and landscape designers of Holy Sepulchre have seen to it that trees are planted rather liberally around the grounds, thereby avoiding the golf-course look of many memorial park type cemeteries.
Upon entering the grounds, visitors are met by what truly appears to be a park. Indeed, the first section of the property contains no burial plots, only grass, trees and shrubs. The cemetery proper begins at the back of this park-like area.
Once you reach the cemetery, the first thing to catch your eye will be the looming structure of Holy Sepulchre Mausoleum. It was this mausoleum, and the hope that it would rise above the painful lack of originality which is the hallmark of so many of today's mausoleums, which drew us to Holy Sepulchre. Fortunately, our hopes were not without foundation.
Built in 1950, the mausoleum is reminiscent of Queen of Heaven just outside of Chicago, though the structure at Holy Sepulchre is only a fraction of the size of Queen of Heaven. Holy Sepulchre mausoleum blends both classic and modern design elements seamlessly. The building features numerous shrines, private family crypt rooms, stained glass windows and statues. Interment options include marble front crypts, wood front crypts, marble sarcophagi and even bronze front cremation niches, each featuring a cross shaped opening which glows with a soft white light if the niche contains cremated remains.
Unique to any indoor mausoleum we have yet encountered in the United States, Holy Sepulchre mausoleum permits the placement of lighted candles in some the shrine areas as well as a few of the private family crypt rooms. Understandably, considering the fire hazard, the cemetery has issued specific restrictions regarding the use of candles in the building. It was a delight to encounter candles in a mausoleum, not only in that we'd not done so before, but because of the unique contribution candles make in this setting.
Back out on the grounds, the cemetery is fairly unremarkable save for a number of attractive family mausoleums, the most notable of which bears the name of one Robert S. Brown over the doors which feature lovely intertwined bronze grapevines. To either side of the building, two bronze lions stand guard. Elsewhere on the grounds, another family mausoleum is watched over by two life-sized bronze tigers. Quite interesting.
If you are a sports fan, chances are you will find a gravesite of interest at Holy Sepulchre as it seems to be the burying ground of preference for athletes, particularly baseball players who spent at least part of their careers with the Detroit Tigers. Among those interred at Holy Sepulchre are twelve major league baseball players, the former owner of the Detroit Tigers baseball team, two professional hockey players and one professional golfer.
Other notable interments include a host of Roman Catholic bishops, archbishops and even a cardinal.
While at Holy Sepulchre, you may wish to pay your respects at the grave of Manson Family murder victim Jay Sebring. Sebring (born Thomas John Kummer in Alabama) was raised outside of Detroit, Michigan. He changed his name to Jay Sebring when he moved to Los Angeles and established himself as a top celebrity hair stylist. Along with Sharon Tate, her unborn baby Paul, Steven Parent, Abigail Folger and Wojciech Frykowski, Sebring was brutally murdered by members of the Charles Manson "Family" on 9 August, 1969.
All in all, Holy Sepulchre is worth a visit if you are in the area, particularly if you are a fan of community mausoleums or baseball.