Hidden History: Family of Robin Williams Born, Buried in Evansville

People around the world are mourning the loss of the highly-acclaimed actor Robin Williams. He left his mark everywhere he went. He left his mark everywhere, including here in the Tri-State. Unbeknownst to many, until now, the grandparents, great grandparents and great aunts of the famed comedian were born and buried in Evansville.

People around the world are mourning the loss of the highly-acclaimed actor Robin Williams. He left his mark everywhere he went. He left his mark everywhere, including here in the Tri-State. Unbeknownst to many, until now, the grandparents, great grandparents and great aunts of the famed comedian were born and buried in Evansville.

On the side of a hill, in the silent rows of headstones of the cemetery's 39th section , there is a series of names and numbers.

It's just part of the history at Evansville's Oak Hill Cemetery.

"We have over 70,000 people buried here," said Becky Zoch, the assistant superintendent of city cemeteries. "There are a lot of people, a lot of stories and a lot of surprises."
 
Little did Zoch know, one of those surprises came across her desk Tuesday morning.

"We received word that Robin Williams' grandfather was buried here at our cemetery," Zoch said."

Yes, that Robin Williams. The actor and comedian was one of the most transcendent talents of our time. His family tree shares the space occupied by the sprawling oaks found at Section 39: Lot 19.

"In our research, we found out that [Robin Williams'] great grandparents, his great uncle, and two great aunts are also buried at this same location," Zoch said. There are also two infant children buried in the section. "I love Robin Williams. He was awesome. My go-to move is 'Ms. Doubtfire.' It just brings a lot of smiles and laughs just to think about him."

Robin's grandfather, Robert Williams,  was immensely successful. He was the president of many companies and organizations in the mid-1900s.

"I guess it was a precursor of what was to come," Zoch said.

The true measure of a comedian is the ability to find the humor in tragedy. Maybe Williams would laugh knowing his family spent just $200 for the nine burial plots. Then again, they were bought in 1902.

Jeremiah, 11, received a surprise as well at his house in the 900-block of East Powell.

"I'm going to tell my friends that Robin Williams' grandparents lived at our house," he said. "Who is Robin Williams, again?"

Jeremiah may not know who Robin Williams nor does he know how talented the comedian was. Someday, future generations might. 

"In a hundred years from now people would know because I noted it on all the records," Zoch said.
 
Section 39: Lot 19 will become a more popular place now; it's the history we never knew we had.

Perhaps the joke is on us.

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