The Bonaventure Jogger
An eerie smiling woman looms above the granite tombstones.
If you’re wandering amongst the Spanish moss and live oaks of Savannah’s historic Bonaventure Cemetery at dusk, a grinning green woman with sunken eyes might jump out at you from behind a corner. Don’t worry–you’re not the first to be spooked by the bronze jogger.
The unusual monument is dedicated to the memory of Julie Denise Backus Smith, a prominent member of Savannah society, who died by suicide in 2003. As her epitaph indicates, she worked with compassion for the less fortunate of Savannah as a Chatham County commissioner. She was also the first woman from her city to compete in the Boston Marathon, and went on to win races in Georgia.
While it’s touching memorial to a woman doing what she loved, the statue’s bronze skin has now oxidized to an eerie shade of green and her eyes have gained a blackened shadow, so it can give quite the start to those unaware.
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