For years one of my favorite Fort Worth mysteries was buried under this tombstone:
The mystery began in 1997 when this tombstone was installed at Rose Hill Cemetery beside the tombstone of Lee Harvey Oswald.
Curious people noticed the tombstone with the unusual name and no dates of birth and death and asked cemetery officials about it. Rose Hill’s general manager acknowledged that no interment card was on file for the Nick Beef plot but would not divulge the purchaser of the plot.
So, no one is buried under the Nick Beef tombstone—the tombstone next to the assassin of a president of the United States?
Ewwwwww. In a country still trying to come to terms with a crime now thirty-four years in the past, that’s a good way to start rumors. And start they did and swirled for years as journalists and assassination buffs dug into the Nick Beef mystery.
Early on came a theory that, because Rose Hill staff had stopped providing cemetery visitors with directions to Oswald’s grave, a stand-up comedian in New York City who used the stage name “Nick Beef” bought the plot next to Oswald’s and placed the Nick Beef tombstone there.
According to this theory the comedian began to tell his audiences how people could locate Oswald’s grave: by asking cemetery staff where to find Nick Beef, not Lee Harvey Oswald.
Cemetery officials admitted that they had stopped providing directions to Oswald’s grave.
In 2013 Nick Beef himself spoke up. Patric Abedin, who formerly had lived in Fort Worth and Arlington, was a “nonperforming performance artist” in New York City. He used the stage name “Nick Beef,” even had a credit card bearing that name. In an interview he told the New York Times that in 1963, when he was six years old, his father, Samuel Abedin, was a navigator stationed at Carswell Air Force Base. Patric was in the crowd that greeted Kennedy when the president landed at Carswell on November 21. Patric was perched on the shoulders of an airman when Kennedy passed within a few feet of him.
By the late 1960s Abedin was living with his mother in Arlington. Every week they would drive to Carswell and then sometimes stop at Rose Hill on their way home.
“She’d get out and look at Oswald’s grave,” Abedin told the Times, “and tell me, ‘Never forget that you got to see Kennedy the night before he died.’ ”
When Abedin was eighteen he read that the plot next to Oswald’s had never been sold. He went to Rose Hill and bought the plot.
“It meant something to me in life. It was a place I could go and feel comfortable.”
But Abedin didn’t do anything with the plot until 1996.
Abedin, by then living in Manhattan, came back to Fort Worth to bury his mother. While in town he went to Rose Hill and decided, on the spot, to buy a tombstone and have it installed on his plot next to Oswald’s.
When the cemetery employee was filling out the purchase form and asked Abedin what name he wanted engraved on the tombstone, Abedin said, “Nick Beef.”
Abedin recalled that the employee, upon hearing “Nick Beef,” stopping filling out the form.
Then Abedin showed the employee the credit card with the name “Nick Beef” on it.
Abedin paid a little over $1,000 for the plot and the tombstone.
Abedin said he has no plans to be buried under the Nick Beef tombstone.
And why the name “Nick Beef” anyway? Abedin said he had thought of the name years earlier while eating with a friend, whose stage name was “Hash Brown.”
Ah, but the Rose Hill staff no longer provides visitors with directions to the tombstones of both Oswald and Beef.
Sounds like it’s time for someone to bury Sir Loin next to Nick Beef.
Neighbors in eternity.
Photo—looking west toward Rose Hill Drive—and map show the location of Oswald and Beef relative to the Shannon mausoleum in the traffic triangle. The two tombstones are located about even with the house at 3112 Rose Hill Drive.