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Buffalo, New York: Deathbed Scene in Marble

Mr. and Mrs. Blocher were rich and so distraught over the death of their adult son that they built him a fancy tomb, with marble statues of all three, plus an angel, and sealed it within a gazebo behind glass.

Forest Lawn Cemetery

1411 Delaware Ave., Buffalo, NY
Forest Lawn Cemetery. Entrance on the northeast corner of Delaware and W. Delavan Aves. The glassed-in tomb will be on the left, just a little way inside the entrance gate.
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Deathbed scene in marble.

Deathbed Scene in Marble

In 1881, well-off Nelson Blocher fell in love with Katherine Sullivan, his family's 20-year-old maid. Nelson's parents did not approve, as Nelson and Katherine were not of the same social standing. To separate the pair, the Blochers sent their son to Europe on business and the maid left the family's employ shortly thereafter, reportedly dismissed. When Nelson returned in 1882, he was devastated to learn of his love's departure. Comforted only by the Bible she left behind, Nelson looked for Katherine, but never found her. He battled depression and illness before his death in 1884 from what legend maintains was a broken heart.

His grief-stricken parents, who may have felt responsible for their son's demise, saw to the construction of a memorial to Nelson in Buffalo's Forest Lawn Cemetery. John Blocher designed the structure, which bears a bell-shaped roof that covers life-size marble statues of himself, his wife, and their son. In an imagined scene, Nelson lies in repose on his deathbed with Katherine's bible clutched in his hands. The scantily-clad angel that hovers above Nelson is reportedly modeled after his missing love.

The bodies of Nelson and his parents rest in a crypt beneath the monument, but the maid's fate remains unknown.

[Kurt Deion, 01/27/2016]

The Blocher tomb is so popular that it's featured on Forest Lawn Cemetery maps, available at the cemetery office.

Nearby Offbeat Places

Saturday Night Fever Firefighter MemorialSaturday Night Fever Firefighter Memorial, Buffalo, NY - < 1 mi.
Rick James GraveRick James Grave, Buffalo, NY - < 1 mi.
Where President McKinley DiedWhere President McKinley Died, Buffalo, NY - < 1 mi.
In the region:
Carousels Factory Tour, North Tonawanda, NY - 7 mi.

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