CORPUS CHRISTI, Tx. — The 100th anniversary of the devastating 1919 Hurricane has some people talking about Baby Snookems, a baby who died in the storm and remained unburied for decades.
The still-unidentified baby came to Maxwell P. Dunn Funeral Home sometime during or after the hurricane. She was embalmed and placed into a casket, but she would remain above ground for 71 years.
"I don't know all the particulars as to why they delayed in [burying her]," Ron Alonzo, current Maxwell Dunn Funeral Home owner, said of the owners at the time of the storm.
Alonzo started working at the funeral home in 1982, and a short time later he discovered Baby Snookems in her casket on a top shelf in a room where bodies are prepared for funerals. He says he immediately reported it to the people who ran the funeral home.
"I was very persistent with the ownership of Maxwell P. Dunn that we need to go ahead and lay Snookems to rest," Alonzo said.
That finally happened in 1990 after Rose Hill Cemetery donated a burial plot for Snookems to be laid in. Fourteen years later, the unmarked grave received a headstone that read "Baby Snookems, unknown baby girl, victim of 1919 storm." The date of her birth is a guess, and the date of her death is incorrect.
"Unfortunately they engraved it incorrectly, but she's well loved," Rose Hill Cemetery employee Susan Delmonico said. "We tend her well here, and she finally has a resting place."
Some people have questioned how the baby's body was treated while at the funeral home.
"Over the years I've heard many stories of Snookems, and other folks that knew about Snookems," Alonzo said. "But in the period of time that I was here, Snookems was never out for display."
Even though her body had to wait 71 years to reach its final resting place, Delmonico thinks the baby's soul has always been in Heaven.
"I think that our Lord would have carried her right up," she said. "She was probably one of the earliest little angels of the 1919 Hurricane."