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Iraq Vet's SpongeBob Gravestone Removed

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posted on Oct, 22 2013 @ 12:11 PM

An Iraq war veteran's 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 cemetery's prior approval of the headstone's design — a smiling SpongeBob in an Army uniform, with Walker's 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 Walker's living twin sister, have been removed and will not be allowed back up, cemetery President Gary Freytag said Monday.

"We've decided that they aren't appropriate for our historic cemetery and they can't be displayed here," Freytag said, adding that the employee who approved the headstones made an inexplicable error in judgment, given the cemetery's traditional, stately appearance.

He acknowledged that the cemetery is at fault and that staff members would be meeting with Walker's 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.

"I feel terrible that it got to this point but I'm hoping we can come out at the other end of the tunnel with a solution," he said.

Walker was an Army corporal assigned to the 2nd General Support Aviation Battalion and served two yearlong tours Iraq in 2006 and 2010 as a petroleum supply specialist, her family said.

Walker was found dead in a hotel room in Colorado Springs on Valentine's Day this year, strangled and beaten to death. Her boyfriend, an Army sergeant stationed nearby, was arrested and charged with her killing.

Walker's twin sister, Kara Walker, said the family is beyond distraught. A lot of thought went into the gravestones, which she said were chosen because her sister loved SpongeBob, even outfitting her entire bedroom with the cartoon character's decorations.

"It is frustrating that you entrust a cemetery to have your best interest at heart and accommodate you and your family at a hard time ... and because they don't like it they're going to take it down," said Kara Walker, 29, an information technician for the U.S. Navy stationed in Naples, Italy.

"My sister served our country and most people try to accommodate veterans and try to take care of them," she said. "For them not to accommodate and respect what my sister sacrificed, not only for my family, but for everyone else in this country, really bothers me."

She said the only way the cemetery can make it up to the family, which she said pre-paid for six plots for $29,000, is to put the headstones back.

"They already brought enough grief and pain to the family," she said. "We want what we paid for and what I know my sister would have wanted."


Follow Amanda Lee Myers on Twitter at

I'm not sure how I feel about this. I understand the positions of both parties. Thoughts?

posted on Oct, 22 2013 @ 12:20 PM
If i had agreed on a head stone then died. Nothing short of the ground opening up and swallowing the whole thing, should change my wishes and the AGREEMENT.

Pretty disgusting if im honest.

posted on Oct, 22 2013 @ 12:28 PM
reply to post by Sportbominable

As far as I am concerned they made a contract and should not be allowed to renege.

The ONLY options I would consider is that the headstone and coffin and the plots be moved to another family approved cemetery or for the cemetery to place the headstone and coffin (and other plots) in an out of the way corner and surround it with hedges.

I certainly would NOT BACK DOWN on the subject of the headstone. Heck LET THEM come up with a family approved solution it is THEIR PROBLEM!

posted on Oct, 22 2013 @ 12:36 PM
reply to post by crimvelvet

Yeah, I definitely see your point. It was paid for and already approved. Not sure how the family can go about fighting this though. It seems like nothing works out for the good people. Not to mention to horrible way the woman died. The family shouldn't have to put up with this petty stuff.

posted on Oct, 22 2013 @ 01:20 PM
reply to post by Sportbominable

...Not sure how the family can go about fighting this though....

Get a DARN good lawyer and a sympathetic journalist. Then SUE. That is what contract law is all about.

Actually you have a lawyer start filing papers and chances are they will back down and find a better compromise because they do not want this dragged through the courts and front page news in the local paper for months to years.

Remember they have already admitted that the headstone was approved so they really have no leg to stand on at this point. Their best bet is just move the coffin to a back corner and plant a tall hedge.

posted on Oct, 22 2013 @ 01:25 PM
reply to post by Sportbominable

I should also mention they can sue for $$$ for EACH MEMBER of the family individually for the trauma and suffering caused by this crap.

With luck there is an ambulance chasing shark of a lawyer reading twitter and salivating as we speak.

posted on Oct, 22 2013 @ 01:27 PM
reply to post by crimvelvet

I'm just a pessimist now-a-days. I do hope they win though.

posted on Oct, 22 2013 @ 03:44 PM
You know they are doing that because some extremist a-hole probably complained.

posted on Oct, 22 2013 @ 05:26 PM
reply to post by luciddream

Probably right about that. There's always some idiot that has to complain about something that is not hurting anyone and cause actual hurt in the process.

posted on Oct, 22 2013 @ 05:46 PM
I want to know who really goes to the cemetery and gets offended by someone elses choice of headstone??? WTH?

I hope they fight it and I hope they win the right to put it right where it was. I also hope that they are awarded a freakishly large sum of money for emotional damages.

I am sure some lawyer will step up and offer their services pro bono since this is a "media covered" case.

Ridiculous doesn't even begin to cover it.

posted on Oct, 22 2013 @ 06:35 PM
I'm with the cemetery, although they should have made the right decision up front.

And what adult idolizes a cartoon? Childish.

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