Chicago “Elmo” Tombstone Maker Hosea Knox Dies Aged 82



Dressed in his signature overalls, Hoses Knox, 82, owner of Elmo’s Tombstones, lies in his coffin for his friends and family to honor him at his funeral on Monday, September 13, 2021 in Chicago. Knox, 82, who died on September 5, 2021, served the predominantly black community for more than 33 years. (AP Photo / Charles Rex Arbogast)


All Hosea Knox wanted was to own her own business.

For over 33 years, Knox has been the owner of Elmo’s Tombstone Service, which he bought from his employer Robert Williams in 1987 on the South Side of Chicago. The slogan coined by Williams for the store owned by Black was “Be 4 You Go See Elmo”.

Knox, who continued to make tombstones using his old-fashioned methods during the pandemic, died on September 5 of complications from a bowel infection, his family said. He was 82 years old.

“We thank God the Father for the affairs of this man, for he has helped so many members of the black community in their need,” Reverend Moses Williams said as he delivered the invocation at Knox’s funeral on September 13. His friends and family paid tribute to him as he lay in Mount Hope Cemetery next to his wife, Bobby, who died in 2012 of cancer and whose headstone was started by Knox.

Leon Brown, Knox’s assistant for 12 years, remembered that day.

“He (Knox) ​​started it, but I had to finish it. He was upset, ”Brown recalls as he worked on the gravestone for his boss and friend the day after the funeral.

Knox’s daughter Tara Knox Stockdale, who now co-owns the business with her sister, Tawane Knox, watched Brown as he made the pearl blue granite headstone that read: 12 1939, SEPTEMBER 5, 2021 BIG- FATHER.

With the inscription, her father’s death “becomes real again,” Stockdale said through tears as she slid her hands over the rough, smooth sections of the finished gravestone.

Tawane Knox, the younger of the two daughters and principal of an elementary school in Chicago, remembers her childhood and what her father taught them as he lived his life.

“He was a kind and generous person, a hard worker and he never complained. He always tried to help others without judgment. Knox said Friday. “Just because he had polio as a child, he didn’t let himself be limited in life. “

Hosea Knox considered making his own rock, telling The Associated Press last year that he “should eventually”.

“I could put a little thing that says ‘Elmo’s Tombstone Service’ at the bottom,” he said.

As Brown neared the end of his creation, he had to take a break and clean a tool.

“If Mr. Knox were here, do you know what he would say?” Brown asked with a smile. “Why didn’t you clean this up earlier?” ”

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