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Cartoon Culture

Cemetery Denies SpongeBob Monument For Slain U.S. Soldier

This is a story that begins tragically: Sgt. Kimberly Walker was found dead in a hotel room last February, allegedly killed by her boyfriend, Sgt. Montrell Mayo. But the tragedy doesn’t end there.

Walker was a huge SpongeBob SquarePants fan, so much so that she was buried with a SpongeBob doll in her casket. Then, the Walker family did what any other sensible SpongeBob-adoring family would do and ordered two six-foot-tall SpongeBob monuments, each weighing over 7,000 pounds and costing more than $13,000 apiece.

The SpongeBob monuments, for which the family purchased six plots, were built with the consultation of an employee from Cincinnati’s Spring Grove Cemetery. Each monument was adorned in military uniform—one in Army fatigues to represent Kimberly, and another in Naval attire for her twin sister Carol, who is still alive.

“I thought it was the greatest thing in the cemetery,” Carol Walker told a WLWT, a local news station. “I even told the people there, ‘I think this is the best monument I’ve ever seen and the best headstone that you have in the cemetery,’ and they all agreed that it came out really nice.”

But when the monuments were erected last week, the SpongeBob haters at the Spring Grove cemetery immediately ordered them removed. The cemetery admits that they feel horrible about the situation. “We are working with the Walker famiy and are committed to design a solution, at our expense, that will properly memorialize Kimberly within the context of Spring Grove’s historic landscape and guidelines,” said Gary Freytag, president of the cemetery.

Walker’s mother, Deborah, however, says the family feel differently about their memorial to America’s greatest soldier of love and happiness. “We all feel like SpongeBob should stay there.”

(Thanks, Pedro Nakama)

  • Ant G

    They cost 13k a piece…. sorry but you would think people who just lost a loved one would have more sense. This is so trivial.

    • Paul N

      Actually, I’d think that people who lost a loved one in such a tragic way would want to honor that person in a way that has meaning for them. “Having sense” is the last thing I’d expect in this situation.

  • I’m actually surprised that Viacom didn’t slap them with a copyright infringement notice first.

  • Max W

    Well, giving him human arms and legs was certainly an odd choice…

    • Axolotl

      Maybe those twig-thin sponge limbs wouldn’t really support Spongebob’s body if it was made of stone.

  • ZekeySpaceyLizard

    Sounds like a lot of hooplah!

  • KYLE

    I completely agree with the “haters”, do some sort of inlay SpongeBob carving in an appropriate memorial stone. Those things are atrocious. If anything else… he is square, just make the entire stone his body with her name/dates/info on that. It would still look like a traditional headstone.

    • khan8282

      Not only that but they’re six freaking feet tall. Six freaking feet! So even a rectangular sponge with a face on it would be a Six freaking foot sponge!

      For my money, if they kept it under 3 feet I’d be like “Throw in a squirrel in a space suit if ya like, at least it’s not going to dominate the landscape.”

      …but six… freaking… feet!

  • Jason Cezar Duncan

    I hate to say it, but it really makes me cringe when people attach themselves to fandoms so much they go to drastic lengths like this. Don’t get me wrong, I totally support them being able to do this and I’m not going to argue with the family of a fallen solider. But in general, people put these things they didn’t make and have no personal connection to on a pedestal and act like that’s why they are who they are. IT’S NOT. I’m sure it inspires you, but it’s not why you are who you are. You are who you are because you’re in an individual with your own set of values and ethics. Not because of what some TV show or cartoon said. Spongebob is Stephen Hillenburg and his crew’s mark of what they’ve contributed to this world, what’s yours?

    • MH

      I have no problem with it. If someone wants to live their lives dedicated to a fandom, let them. Not everyone has to leave behind a legacy and if this made them happy then so be it. Who are we to judge how everyone lives the one life they are given.

    • Axolotl

      Yeah, a true individual would want a lozenge, heart, Celtic Cross or obelisk shape like everyone else.

      • Jason Cezar Duncan

        Or something they designed themselves…

    • Tori Rhodes

      I think it kicks butt in comparison to traditional headstones (the
      blandness and uniformity of which have bothered me since before I was an adult). If it makes someone happy to think they’ll be immortalized by SpongeBob, then I think that’s what they should have.

      A graveyard stroll would be absolutely fascinating if every memorial depicted a love of that person’s life, the more varied the subject, the better.

      • Jason Cezar Duncan

        In a backwards way, I agree. In theory this is no different than people who are buried with crosses or other religious symbols for tombstones. And like fandoms of TV shows, religion alone means nothing to me when it comes to legacy. So it is rather unfair to let some people flaunt their fandoms of things (in the mainstream case: Jesus) and others be told their being a deviant distraction. Let everyone flaunt things and, tada, no one will be a “distraction” anymore.

  • jhalpernkitcat

    If you ask me, it’s a strange yet touching gesture to a slain family member. If the family wants two Spongebobs watching over her for the rest of eternity, then by all means let them.

  • mick

    why not have them stuffed, painted yellow and hung from a tree playing the theme tune? What’s wrong with that?

  • mick

    This is a trite gesture. The ‘it’s all about what I want’ pervading attitude is twisted. This is like shouting in a library, ‘hey why not he loves to shout, so let him shout. Hearing someone shout in a library is so kooky, I’d just smile’. If this is important to them they should buy a plot some place away from people who don’t necessarily wish to indulge other’s kookiness

    I’d take offence at a gurning badly made sponge bob leering at me as I grieved.

    On second glace, this looks like a hoax

  • Erin

    I have never personally encountered someone who thought they were “better” than others because they were a fan of something. More often than than not I see people assuming they will be ridiculed for it and being at least slightly embarrassed. But even if there are those who are obnoxious about it, it doesn’t mean people aren’t allowed to identify with whatever they like.

    • Jason Cezar Duncan

      These fallacious comments just blow my mind! Who is saying you can’t identify with whatever you like? You can identify with a big mac for all I care. I’m just talking about people who act like fandoms are some sort of personal accomplishment.

  • John R.

    As FLIP blog put it, sounds like some well-placed shrubbery would be a great solution for the cemetary. Pretty economical, too, considering how this could snowball otherwise.

  • mick

    You have to close your eyes and walk in the opposite direction to miss my point.

    When things are inappropriate when do they become TOO inappropriate? Who decides? These dreadful head stones will upset more people than my typing

  • CoolCat9000

    Is there some way they could destroy and reuse the statue for more appropriate gravestones?

    What I don’t understand is why the family wouldn’t opt for a typical gravestone with SpongeBob carved in? Not to be macabre or anything, but you see Winnie the Pooh on child’s gravestones all the time…it wouldn’t have been distracting had they done that…

    • Chris Sobieniak

      I noticed a few suggested that, it does pretty frivolous to go out of their way to make the entire gravestone like that when it could just be a simple carved image instead, certainly wouldn’t be an ‘eyesore’ in the place if that was the cemetery’s concern on the matter.

      • CoolCat9000

        I don’t really think of them as an “eyesore” anyway, but if so many people are complaining, they might as well change it somehow…

  • Ant G

    Seeing 2 giant statues of spongebob squarepants in a cemetery would make me feel insulted. If Im grieving over a lost one, last thing I need to see is another family flaunting their way of wasting money and try to be the belle of the ball in a cemetery of all places.

  • Cryptic

    I’d think that far ahead if I was about to plunk down $26,000 to the monument company.

  • I Wish I Had A Hearse
  • UnreliableLarry

    The problem is that if they allow the usage to go ‘unpunished’, as it were, they dilute their copyright and allow others to do the same. In other words, if they don’t go after these gravestone cutters, then all gravestone cutters could infringe the copyright without penalty and they could eventually end up losing the copyright altogether.

    • mutsbug

      i feel like this circumstance is an exception to the rule. that’d be one heartless judge to slap viacom for NOT sending a C&D over a gravestone

  • Kris Kail

    If it was a regular tombstone with a chiseled out image of Spongebob, I wouldn’t be bothered, but honestly that’s just grossly offensive. I feel for the family and understand their choice to mourn and respect their dead the way they will, but a graveyard is literally a neighborhood and you need to be respectful of your neighbors.