Beth Woolley is pictured with the granite monument made by her company, Peaceable Kingdom Memorials in Neptune City.
By ED SALVAS
The ashes of famed writer and poet Dorothy Parker are buried in Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx. And now there’s a monument at the grave that was designed by Beth Woolley, owner of Peaceable Kingdom Memorials in Neptune City.
“I’ve been a fan of Dorothy Parker all my life,” Woolley said and was thrilled to have the opportunity to design the monument.
Parker was born Aug. 22, 1893, in Long Branch at her parents’ summer cottage on Ocean Avenue. She died June 7, 1967, at 73. The ceremonial unveiling of the headstone was planed for her birthday but was delayed until Aug. 23 because of bad weather.
Woolley said she’s had an association with Dorothy Parker through an informal group called the Dorothy Parker Society and was asked by its President, Kevin Fitzpatrick, to design the monument. She also helped the society locate the address of Parker’s birth and with the Friends of the Long Branch Library placed a Literary Landmark on the boardwalk across from the San Alfonso Retreat House.
Woolley said the project took about three months from start to finish. Fitzpatrick wanted an Art Deco font and a Dorothy Parker poem, “Epitaph for a Darling Lady” and a primrose leaf inscribed on it. It was made in Barre, Vt. by the Spruce Mountain Granite Co. To meet the deadline, Woolley and her husband Peter drove the headstone from Vermont to New York City. It stands about five feet high. She declined to reveal the cost.
Parker was born Dorothy Rothschild and took her husband’s name when they were married. Known for her acerbic wit and for presiding over the Round Table at New York’s Algonquin Hotel, she was also a staunch civil rights activist. When she died she left everything to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. When King was assassinated a year later, her ashes went to the NAACP Headquarters. The NAACP in 2020 turned over the ashes to Parker’s family and they were buried at Woodlawn, the resting place of many well-known people. But there was no headstone until now.
Beth Woolley established Peaceable Kingdom Memorials in 1995 with her husband, Peter. She has designed numerous gravestones and other memorials, including a U.S. Navy WWI plaque in Times Square, numerous plaques on the boardwalk in Long Branch, and the first MLK Monument in New Jersey on Atlantic Avenue in Long Branch. Her website is www.Peaceablekingdommemorials.com.