Among the Angels
“ I think I speak for many when I mention how often we have been indebted to her incredible work . May she rest in peace .” — Robin Ray
Janet L . Heywood died on January 16 , 2021 , in Cincinnati , Ohio , aged 77 . The cause was ALS . Janet retired from Mount Auburn in 2006 after more than 25 years of involvement with the Cemetery — as visitor , volunteer , part-time , and then full-time employee , culminating in her final role as Vice President of Interpretive Programs .
J anet Heywood began offering angel and cherub winter walks at Mount Auburn Cemetery , as she described it , as a way “ to go into the gravitas of these go-betweens .” Her accompanying brochures were filled with quotes —
Bible selections like : “ Be not forgetful to entertain strangers : for thereby some have entertained angels unawares .”
— Hebrews xiii , 2 . and literature like : “ Good-Night , sweet prince ,
And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest .”
— Hamlet v , ii .
Photo by Michael Schaffer
The brochures included detailed information about angel monuments . For the Noll Lot on Walnut Avenue , Janet wrote : “ Seven young children were buried in the Noll family lot between 1856 and 1884 .” An angel oversees the children . The brochures also included art . One image was from medieval England , “ depicting an angel showing St . John the Heavenly Jerusalem .”
Janet led Friends of Mount Auburn Cemetery tours of angels and cherubs for over a decade . Her last angel walk was in 2005 . It was accompanied by an outstanding and inclusive brochure . In 2011 , as a new docent , I picked up what I think was one of Janet ’ s favorite themes : angels and cherubs in the Cemetery . Janet knew the Cemetery . Janet knew the visitor ’ s way of thinking . What can be better than to look at angels in Mount Auburn on a cold , snowy January day , the preferred month of her walks .
The depth of Janet ’ s spirit inspires me , still . I am grateful for her insights and her work .
“ The skill with which Janet could inhabit the ideas of the past and make them relevant for today and the future was remarkable . She was just amazing — a true reflection of Mount Auburn ’ s brilliance .” — Candace Currie
— Rosemarie C . Smurzynski Volunteer Docent