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SpongeBob Headstone Removal Controversy
(NBC News) - The still-grieving family of an Army veteran is at odds with one of America's oldest cemeteries over 14,000 pounds worth of SpongeBob Squarepants-shaped granite. Sgt. Kimberly Walker was murdered by her boyfriend in February, and her family wanted to commemorate both her memory and her love of the SpongeBob cartoon. So they purchased two massive SpongeBob monuments (at a cost of $26,000) to memorialize her and they bought six plots at the Spring Grove Cemetery in Cincinnati to accommodate the pair of 6-foot-8 statues.
The family received the cemetery's OK for the highly personal monuments, which also feature Army uniforms, American flags and Jeff Gordon's number 24 for Kimberly's favorite racecar driver.
But the day after the headstones were installed, the family was told that they have to remove them. "Although the family chose a design within the guidance of a Spring Grove employee, unfortunately the monument did not fit within [cemetery] guidelines," Spring Grove CEO Gary Freytag, wrote in a statement. The cemetery has offered to cover the cost of "designing a solution" for the family.