The parents of a slain 28-year-old Ohio soldier honored their daughter with special SpongeBob SquarePants tombstones — until the cemetery removed them.
After the death of Sgt. Kimberly Walker — allegedly killed by her boyfriend — the soldier’s parents decided to honor their daughter the best way they knew how. SpongeBob was Kimberly’s favorite cartoon character. Even as an adult, she owned many SpongeBob items, including shower curtains.
“SpongeBob went in her casket before we laid her in the ground,” mother Deborah Walker told WLWT in Cincinnati.
Sgt. Kimberly Walker was just 28 when she died. She was allegedly killed by her boyfriend.
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That did not feel like enough for the family, so the Walkers decided to honor Kimberly with a pair of 7,000-pound SpongeBob tombstones. Both SpongeBob monuments were wearing uniforms, in honor of Kimberly and her twin sister Kara, who is in the Navy.
“I thought it was the greatest thing in the cemetery,” Deborah Walker told the station. “I even told the people there that I think this is the best monument I’ve ever seen. It’s the best headstone in the cemetery and they all agreed. It came out really nice.”
Spring Grove Cemetery in Cincinnati, where Sgt. Kimberly Walker is laid to rest.
Cemetery officials didn’t agree. Even though the family said they had gained approval for the special tombstones, officials at Spring Grove Cemetery in Cincinnati apparently changed their mind.
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“Spring Grove is deeply sorry for the issues involving the monument the Walker family recently purchased,” Spring Grove President and CEO Gary Freytag told WLWT in a statement. “Although the family chose a design with the guidance of a Spring Grove employee, unfortunately the monument did not fit within Spring Grove Cemetery guidelines.
Deborah Walker, Kimberly’s mother, and other family members were heartbroken when the SpongeBob tombstones were taken down.
“As an historic cemetery, we must constantly balance the needs of families who have just suffered a loss with the thousands of families who have entrusted us in the past,” the statement continues. “We are working with the Walker family and are committed to design a solution, at our expense, that will properly memorialize Kimberly, within the context of Spring Grove’s historic landscape and guidelines.”
The only solution for the family, however, is to put SpongeBob back where he belongs — watching over Kimberly. Talks between both sides are ongoing.
“I feel like, and we all feel like, SpongeBob should stay there,” Deborah Walker said. “We bought the plots, all six of them. We put the monuments there, we did what we had to do and they said they could provide that service to us.”
Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/spongebob-tombstones-honoring-soldier-cemetery-article-1.1491938#ixzz2iZQp2Nzc