Cemetery Removes Iraq War Vets’ Spongebob Squarepants Gravestone

Spongebob Gravestone

An Ohio cemetery has removed a gravestone at the grave of an Iraq War veteran that was, well, rather unique:

CINCINNATI (AP) — Officials at a cemetery that removed a slain Iraq war veteran’s towering SpongeBob SquarePants headstone from her final resting place after they deemed it inappropriate for their traditional grounds were planning to meet with the soldier’s family to explore possible solutions.

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.

Much like Josh Marshall, I’m not sure what to say.


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Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Rafer Janders says:

    Officials at a cemetery that removed a slain Iraq war veteran’s

    A “war veteran”? As opposed to a peace veteran? Or did they mean to write “Iraq War veteran’s” and forget to capitalize the W?

  2. I know exactly what to say: you put that tombstone back up, and you allow this woman some dignity in her final resting place. Also, screw you and your “stately” cemetery.

  3. Tony W says:

    I would love to see the expression on the face of the archeologist who finds these in 10,000 years.

  4. This is what happens when you let Squidward run the local cemetary.

  5. gVOR08 says:

    Like Doug, I’m not sure what to say about this. But I can provide a little context. Here in Cincinnati, Spring Grove Cemetery is a landmark and an institution. They’ve been operating since the 1840s and have grown to 700 acres.They are the resting place of both Procter and Gamble and some forty Civil War generals and any number of notable Cincinnatians. They are registered as a National Historic Landmark. They do go to a lot of trouble to maintain the traditional appearance of the site. I have no idea what standards and policies they publish, but they do seem to be trying to deal with this with considerable sensitivity.