THE GRAVEDIGGER’S TALES
Frank Thomas Dug 8,000 Graves But Never Buried A Soul
Few people have lowered more dead bodies down into the good Tennessee earth than gentle giant Frank Thomas.
Throughout his 45-year career, this 7-foot-tall Liberty native paid passionate attention to the details of carving out a perfect rectangle in the ground, a hole that would be the final resting place for a loved one.
“Anybody can dig a hole in the ground, but not anybody can dig a grave. It’s a sacred place. I would say I’ve dug 8,000 graves. The first 35 years all by hand, most of the time me only,” said Thomas, 77, who hung up his pick and shovel 12 years ago.
“I dug graves for all the funeral homes in DeKalb and Wilson County over the years. Sometimes I dug four a day, and they never did have to wait on me, but it was hard. I’ve dug a many a grave with a pick and shovel and didn’t ever stop to get a drink of water, had my back bent until I finished, and then I’d go dig another.”
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