Saturday, June 25, 2022

Observe: Iowa man’s gravestone sparks controversy with hidden obscenity

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The family of Steven Paul Owens, who died in September 2021 at the age of 59, said the hidden message on Owens’ headstone in Warren-Powers Cemetery in rural Polk County was intended as a tribute, not an insult, to their late relative.

June 16 (News) — A headstone in an Iowa cemetery sparks controversy after local residents realized the family had included a hidden obscenity in the headstone’s engraved message.

The headstone message reads, “Forever in our hearts until we meet again, cherished memories known as our son, brother, father, dad, uncle, friend and cousin.”

The formatting of the type causes the first letter of each line to contain the message “[expletive] out.”

“It was a term of endearment,” Owens’ daughter told WHO-TV, “if he said that to you, it meant he liked you. If he didn’t like you, he wouldn’t talk to you.”

The Camp Township Board of Trustees said officials refused the headstone, but the family had it installed anyway.

The board said in a statement that it does not allow profanity on headstones because “those who have a place in the cemetery have the right to decency.”

The statement said parishioners are preparing legal action to have the tombstone removed.

“They don’t want or appreciate that the stone is in the graveyard,” the statement said. “This fellowship will not stop until they remove the tombstone.”

The Owens family said they hope to reach an agreement with the community to allow the stone to remain in place.

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