In the course of writing my previous post on women in SF, I happened to look up some older women authors on Wikipedia to check out their eras of publication, because I was thinking of adding a bit about some of them as well.
And that's when I learned the distressing and annoying fact that Zenna Henderson is buried in a cemetery in a small rural Arizona town called St. David.
What's distressing and annoying about it is that I was just there! I was! I drove right through town on my Arizona trip. And I didn't know! I may never be back there again, and now, just after getting home, do I learn that I missed out on this rare opportunity to pay my respects at a beloved author's grave.
Not only that, this isn't the first time this has happened. A couple decades ago, I had just completed the closest thing to a long cross-country drive I've made as an adult, from Michigan to California, when I happened to learn that Philip K. Dick is buried in the unlikely town of Fort Morgan, Colorado. (I think his father had once lived there and bought a family plot, or something. But PKD had no personal connection to the place. At least Zenderson was from southern Arizona, which should have come to mind.)
And what windswept eastern Colorado town had I actually briefly stopped at for a break on my long drive? Fort Morgan. Had I known ...? No.
There are some cases where I've gotten to graves. On a couple of occasions in pursuit of data about obscure Tolkien-related figures, I've gone to their hometowns to look for information in the back files of the local newspaper, which can be found in no other library; and the information includes that they're buried in a local cemetery. So I go out to pay my respects, and on one occasion learned from the office that the grave, even over half a century later, was still unmarked. I thought that very sad.