The Karson Memorial Fund

Joe Karson

Those that have read “Joe Karson – Beyond Zombie” know that he died penniless.  His church provided a burial service for him but since there was no money available, he was laid to rest in an unmarked grave in St. Michael’s Cemetery in Springfield, Massachusetts.

After visiting Karson’s grave, I felt that someone this important to magic should have a grave marker.  I contacted the cemetery, and since Joe left no relatives, I was given permission to place a headstone on his grave.  After calling a Springfield monument maker, I learned that a headstone (a 24″ x 12″ flush mount stone as per the cemetery’s regulations) would cost around $500.  Although cheaper stones were available, I felt the deluxe, black marble model would be appropriate for Mr. Karson.

John Booth and Jay Marshall
John Booth and Jay Marshall at the 2000 Magic Collectors’ Weekend, photographed in the process of donating to the Joe Karson Fund.

My goal was to receive donations from magicians and fans of magic history so that we could raise enough money to purchase this marker.  Well, the magicians came through!  At the Magic Collectors’ Weekend held in Baltimore, Maryland (April 27, 28, & 29, 2000), several magicians donated and the goal was achieved.  On June 28, 2000, Karson had a headstone placed on his grave (twenty years after his death).  Thank you to all the people that contributed to this very important project.

St. Michael's Cemetery - Springfield, Massachusetts
St. Michael’s Cemetery – Springfield, Massachusetts

 Copyright Michael E. Rose