Special to SEGAZINE
An Iraq war veterans towering SpongeBob SquarePants headstone has been removed from her final resting place because officials at the historic Cincinnati cemetery deemed it inappropriate for their traditional grounds.
The headstone of Kimberly Walker, 28, was made in the likeness of her favorite cartoon character and erected at Spring Grove Cemetery on Oct. 10, almost eight months after she was found slain in a Colorado hotel room.
Despite getting the cemeterys prior approval of the headstones design – a smiling SpongeBob in an Army uniform, with Walkers name and rank – her family said Monday that cemetery staff called them the day after it was installed to say it would have to come down.
The 7-foot headstone, along with a near-exact duplicate erected for Walkers living twin sister, have been removed and will not be allowed back up, cemetery President Gary Freytag said Monday.
“Weve decided that they arent appropriate for our historic cemetery and they cant be displayed here,” Freytag said, adding that the employee who approved the headstones made an inexplicable error in judgment, given the cemeterys traditional, stately appearance.
He acknowledged that the cemetery is at fault and that staff members would be meeting with Walkers family on Tuesday to try to find a solution, which could include a more traditional gravestone bearing small likeness of the character.
Freytag also said Spring Grove is prepared to reimburse the family for each headstone, which cost a combined $26,000, and pay for new ones.