Again, back at the Ringling Museum, there is a little-known graveyard. There lie John Ringling, his wife, Mabel Burton Ringling and his sister, Ida Ringling North. John died in 1936, his wife in 1929 and his sister in 1950; however, it was only in 1991 that the three were interred on the museum grounds. The strange tale is briefly told in the June 5, 1991 Sarasota Herald-Tribune:
“Fifty-five years after his death, circus king John Ringling has been laid to rest. With him, his family buries a feud that left Ringling’s remains in a temporary vault for more than half a century.
“Ringling, his wife, Mable, and sister Ida Ringling North were buried Tuesday in a private ceremony at the Ringling Museum of Art here.
“The burial ends years of family fighting over Ringling’s final resting place and whether the three should be interred together in Sarasota, still the winter home of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus’ ”Greatest Show on Earth.”
“A state appeals court ended the dispute last year by upholding a judge’s ruling that the three should be buried together on the museum grounds. That’s where Henry Ringling North, John’s nephew and Ida’s son, wanted them buried.
One side of the family, including two of Ringling’s grandnieces and a grandnephew, was willing to allow Ringling and his wife to be buried on the property. But they didn’t want Ida there because she had nothing to do with the circus.”
R.I.P., John, Mabel and Ida.