The Guy Next To Bruce Lee

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Just across the northern fence from Volunteer Park on Seattle’s Capitol Hill is Lakeview Cemetery, founded in 1872. It is a history lesson in and of itself. It is the resting place of many Seattle pioneers, Civil War veterans, community leaders, and locals from many cultures. Its gravestones are as diverse as the people buried beneath them.

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Lakeview is a tourist hot spot because Bruce and Brandon Lee are buried here. As you enter the front gate you can see a large white heart on the hill. Go towards that, and behind a nearby evergreen hedge you will find the father and son who met their tragic ends all too soon.

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I have better photos of these graves, but these are the most recent. Martial arts legend Bruce Lee was buried in 1973 and his son was buried next to him almost 20 years later. The men who carried Bruce to this place included Chuck Norris, Steve McQueen, James Coburn, George Lazenby, Dan Inosanto, Ray Chin, Taky Kimura, and Bruce’s brother Robert.  Brandon, as people of my generation will never forget, was killed on set during the filming of The Crow. 

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People leave all sorts of mementos on Bruce and Brandon’s graves. There are often coins and candles and trinkets to the point that I sometimes wish the graves were fenced off. I’m concerned about the wear and tear to the headstones.

Now look a little to the left. Right next to Bruce Lee’s grave, a resident of Lakeview Cemetery since almost a century before Bruce, is one P.J. Malone.

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P.J. came from County Mayo in Ireland and was 42 when he died. He was 10 years older than Bruce when he passed and 14 years older than Brandon. I’ll bet his marker once stood upright and like most of that vintage has been laid flat.

Unfortunately, visitors walk all over P.J. as if he’s not even there. Not only has weather taken its toll on P.J.’s stone, but he’s so close to Bruce that he’s become an afterthought as people traipse over his coffin. I don’t know that a lot of people notice this marker.

So who was P.J.? I don’t know. In the grand scheme of things, he was just as important as anyone around him. He is equally loved by his Creator. I just feel bad that he gets stepped on so much.

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Just a short distance north of Bruce Lee’s grave is that of Jesse Glover. If you know your martial arts history at all, you know that Jesse was Bruce’s first student and first assistant instructor.

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Here are people paying their respects at the Lees’ graves and almost no one realizes Glover is nearby. It’s possible they don’t know that he passed.

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Ed Hart is right by Jesse.

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The cemetery is a beautiful and peaceful place.

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In parts of the cemetery you can still see intriguing features like marble curbs.

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In the distance you can see Lake Washington.

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Someday I hope to learn P.J.’s life story. Until then, Bruce Lee fans, please watch your step out of respect for this Irish immigrant and the preservation of his gravestone as well. The Civil War was recent past when he stepped into eternity.


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14 thoughts on “The Guy Next To Bruce Lee

  1. HI – me again. I got an answer from the cemetery on PJ. Here is what they said.

    “PJ Malone is still there. His stone is underneath the grass. One of the reasons why the walkway was placed there was to prevent people from walking on other’s graves. It’s been quite a problem through the years. We’ve had numerous complaints from the descendants and families of the people buried nearby them. We all were so excited to finally have a proper walkway that benefits everyone.

    We were aware this wasn’t exposed and keeping it underground does protect it. I will bring this to management’s attention and see if perhaps it can be uncovered or if it’s best left uncovered.

    Unfortunately, we don’t have any information on him.

    Thanks for sharing this, I was curious how close this stone is in relation to the Lee’s. I am going to place this photo in the Bruce Lee and Lot file…”

    Sounds like they have a big crowd problem and this was a solution they have worked on for a long time.

    If I have some extra time I might do more research on PJ. Will let you know if I find anything.


    1. It should be uncovered. Elsewhere in the comments section, the blogger who runs Wedgwood in Seattle History identified PJ. I almost feel like we should start an online petition to protect PJ’s grave too. He shouldn’t be forgotten about just because of his famous neighbors. In the grand scheme of things he’s just as important.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Just out of the blue got an email from Lakeview. They are going to uncover PJ. I guess our asking got them thinking it wasn’t right. Maybe they even went and saw our conversation on this post about him.

        Can’t tell you how happy this makes me!! I assume you and our Wedgewood co-patriot is also happy.

        History is never boring


      2. Good to hear. Thanks for doing that. I’m puzzled as to why they covered him up in the first place. We should establish some sort of tradition to recognize him too– a “Don’t Walk on PJ” campaign with t-shirts and everything. I’m officially claiming the trademark/copyright on that!


  2. I am so glad you noticed PJ too. I was there a year ago researching a coal mining family who found the New Black Diamond Mine. The Jones Family are buried rather close to the Lees. So once I paid my respects to them, I went to the Lee’s area. There was PJ all walked on. I also was so distressed by that.

    Now they have reconfigured the Lee graves with railings etc. PJs grave is no longer visible. Does anyone know where he was moved to? I think I will as the cemetery.

    Will let you know what I find out.

    Robin aka Batgurrl


  3. I noticed P.J.’s grave while visiting Bruce Lee’s grace a couple years ago. As a descendant of County Mayo natives, I’ve begun to make a point to show P.J. a bit of love. It’s heartening to see that others have noticed and appreciated him as well. 💚

    Liked by 2 people

  4. This is just wonderful — you have really captured the romance of the cemetery and the “wondering” about the people behind the stones! It is very difficult to find out about people in Washington Territory in those early days as sometimes good records were not kept. Just now I looked at the on-line Washington Digital Archives and could not find anything for P.J. I also wondered if it is actually Maloney and that side of the stone is broken off!


      1. I know of the Facebook page but don’t follow it regularly. I see the picture of the fences there. I’d sure like to know if PJ is still there.


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