The Therese Condit Memorial
Commemorating an Amazing Woman’s Extraordinary Life
The death of Therese Celine Marie Condit came very suddenly and quite unexpectedly to everyone and was a shock to all those who knew and loved her. Her family and friends still mourn her passing upon the anniversary of her death and the unveiling of her memorial. Therese was a beautiful, lovely creature. She was extremely talented, creative and vivacious and had a zest for life. In her short 41 years on earth, she packed a couple of lifetimes of accomplishments and experiences into her days.
Therese loved to travel, especially to Europe, and she travelled many times to Germany, France, and Italy, where she loved to hike and ski in the mountains and play her music. Therese taught children in China and Japan music and English. She worked in New York for the UN and Columbia University in child-related organizations. Therese had academic degrees from Miami Ohio and Harvard and taught graduate students at MIT in her specialty. After that, TT spent a few years in California hiking the mountains and playing music in various bands throughout the state.
Therese was fluent in many languages, could play music by ear and taught herself to play many different music instruments. She played music all over the country for various groups and bands and at one point played with a symphony orchestra in LA.
Just about everyone who met her, fell in love with her and she had many male suitors. Just about the only thing she was not able to accomplish in her short life, was to find her soulmate-the one true love of her life.
Therese’s mother, Kathie, took the lead on creating a suitable tribute to her remarkable daughter. She wanted something simple and appropriate, not too ostentatious, yet that nevertheless told the story of her child’s exceptional life.
Music and mountains needed to be worked into the design, along with the symbols of the family’s deep faith in God. A single upright monument, with a simple shape, made of unpolished grey granite was chosen for the design. A rose to symbolize the family’s love for TT and also of T’s devotion to St. Therese the Little Flower would be added, along with a Celtic Cross for her Catholic and Irish backgrounds. A picture of TT and a saying from St. Therese, loved by her uncle, Fr. Bob, would round out the elements to be incorporated into the memorial.
The initial design phase involved various options arranging the symbols on the memorial (1A). Kathie chose her preferred arrangement, and a more refined design was created (1B). The layout appeared a bit crowded, so a slightly larger size was requested, and a revised drawing provided (1C).
(Design drawings of phases 1A, 1B and 1C of the design process)
Phase 2 of the design process began by focusing in on the final arrangement of elements (2A). Different rose designs were presented, the saying was moved to the margin of the base and a different photo chosen for the ceramic picture that would be imbedded in the surface of the monument (2B, 2C). The artist, who was to etch the black granite insert with the mountain and music motifs, provided Kathie with a sketch of her design and this was added to the layout (2C, 2D)
(Design and artist’s drawings of phases 2A, 2B, 2C and 2D of the design process)
Phase 3 began the final fine-tuning work to make the design perfect. The final rose shape was chosen and redrawn to spec and the portrait was moved more toward the center (3A, 3B). Upon further reflection, Kathie requested roses on both sides for symmetry (4A). A revised drawing with smaller roses was then presented (4B) and the design was finally approved by Therese’s
mother and the rest of her family (4C).
(Design drawings of phases 3A and 3B of the design process)
Being totally satisfied with the design of the tablet, the family now set out to find the perfect photo to represent T’s vivacious personality and character. Some of the pictures were taken to a photo lab to be enhanced. Many pictures were considered by the family and oval mock-up drawings were created with the photos (4D, 4E). The family finally settled on the picture that most captured the spirit of this lovely woman (4F).
(Design drawings and photo selection of phases 4A, 4B, 4C, 4D, 4E and 4F of the design process)
Because of the unique nature of Therese’s memorial, and all the elements her mother had incorporated into the design, ACSENT wanted to demonstrate the steps in the engraving process for custom memorial designs.
The granite tablet and base are cut, shaped, and finished at one of the manufacturers that ACSENT regularly purchases granite from. These factories are typically located near the mountains where the stone is quarried. In this case, TT’s single tablet and base are made of Barre Grey Granite and purchased from Adams Granite in Barre, Vermont. The finished work was shipped to Cincinnati by flatbed and set up for engraving (01).
After the memorial design is approved, ACSENT’s production department plots the design on a rubber sheet material using a computer-aided plotter (02). The rubber material is aligned to the monument according to the CAD drawings provided and glued to the granite (03, 04, 05, 07).
Because Kathie requested that the Roses be carved in relief, the rubber stencil is cut to prepare for the engraving of the roses (14,16). Processing a memorial with relief carvings is a multi-step technique with the relief carving being done before the final sandblasting of all the other design elements.
The monument is then placed in the shape-carving booth to begin the carving process of the rose buds (17). ACSENT’s carving artist works from various images of carved roses and slowly brings the rose bud shapes to life based on years of carving experience (19). The various stages of the relief carving process are shown in photos provided (20, 23, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 32, 33).
After the relief carving is completed, the rubber stencil pieces are glued back on to the monument to prepare for the final deep engraving of the outlines, text, and other design elements (34, 36, 37). The rest of the design is prepared for the final sandblasting process and a paper rubbing is made of the whole surface to make sure all the elements of the design are correct (38, 39).
The next step is to place the granite tablet and base into the automatic blast rooms for final engraving (41,42,43,44). The final engraving is performed by an automated sandblasting machine that blasts the surface of the rubber, cutting the exposed portions of the stone to a uniform depth as determined by our technician, PJ (46). An epoxy sealer is then applied to all the engraved areas for protection and visual appeal (47, 48). The engraved monument is shown in ACSENT’s shop with the embedded black granite plaque ready for etching (49).
ACSENT’s etching artist, Jan Salzman, gets to work engraving her scenic sketch onto the black granite plaque (52). Working from the approved drawing she created for Therese’s mother, Kathie, Jan uses source art to help create the final image (54, 55, 56, 57). The artist works freehand, slowly scratching the polished surface of the granite with a diamond-tipped, Dremel-type tool (60, 63, 66). Jan has been etching monuments for many years and her magnificent artwork can be seen all over the tri-state region.
The final monument, shown assembled in ACSENT’s shop, awaiting the go-ahead from the cemetery for setting (67). The beautiful memorial to Therese Condit as seen in its final setting place where she lies (68). Kathie and the whole family were very pleased with the excellent workmanship of TT’s memorial as they unveiled the monument on the one-year anniversary of her death. A lasting and fitting tribute to their beloved and her life well-lived.