Partner Mary B. Hecht

Queer Places:
Woodlawn Park North Cemetery and Mausoleum Miami, Miami-Dade County, Florida

Jane Gertrude English (September 4, 1922 – July 10, 1982) moved to Miami from Allgriville, NY. She is buried near her friend, Mary B. Hecht.

Mary B. Hecht was a caution, and once she got an idea into her head there was no use trying to wheedle it out. “Mary was her own person” said Harry O. Schloss Jr of Palm Beach. “She said whatever came into her mind and she did whatever she wanted to do”. Schloss, who retired in 1975 as executive vice president of the May Co department store chain, was married to Mary B. Hecht from 1937 to 1951. They had the business and an adopted son Harry O Schloss II in common. Mary B. Hecht’s father, Moses, had founded the Hecht department stores in Washington and Baltimore. Hecht merged with May. Not even a 30-year-old divorce could spoil this pair’s friendship or destroy such a bond as that. “I was very fond of Mary” said Harry O Schloss Jr. “Just because people are divorced doesn’t mean they can’t be fond of each other. You only go through here once. People liked her. You keep your friends because you do more for them than they do for you. She just wasn’t marriage material”. When 69-year-old Hecht died on March 17, 1982 of a massive pulmonary embolism she left clear instructions. In her will she specified her wish to be interred in a “a mausoleum of pink marble formed in the shape of a pyramid with the front to be decorated with an appropriate copy of the Egyptian Sphinx”. Fulfilling her wishes cost Hecht’s estate $147.000 and caused her remains to languish for a year in a somewhat less grand vault in Woodlawn’s crowded common mausoleum but in April 1983 at last the thing iwass finished. It sat in a small parkway not far from the cemetery entrance and was equipped with its own sprinkler system and two new palm trees “but no desert sand no jackasses or camels” said Hecht’s attorney Starr Horton who spent a year on the project. Another cemetery had bid on the job and submitted plans for a less-expensive sort of Greek temple with a pyramid on top but Hecht had said what she wanted and Horton said no thanks “She didn’t want a mausoleum with a pyramid peak on it” he said “She wanted a whole pyramid”. And that is what she got. The 9-foot-tall tomb is made of rose marble from Tate, Ga. The 12-ton white marble sphinx in front of it faces south and was sculpted in Carrara, Italy. The tomb contains 36 yards of concrete and stretches 165 feet across at the base. It contains three vaults Mary B Hecht lies in the center. Her friend Jane Gertrude English is at her left. The vacant space was reserved for Hecht’s 72-year-old cousin Elizabeth Lane, a retired Northern Illinois University anatomy professor.

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