A SpongeBob SquarePants monument commemorating the life of deceased Army Sgt. Kimberly Walker was reinstalled at Spring Grove Cemetery Friday exactly one year after her death.
Hide Caption

SpongeBob SquarePants tombstone monument back at Spring Grove Cemetery after dispute

Cemetery sorry after removing monument

a a a a
Share this story
Show Related Headlines
Related Articles
Cemetery bans SpongeBob tombstone for soldier
Local soldier found dead in Colo. hotel

CINCINNATI -- A SpongeBob SquarePants monument commemorating the life of deceased Army Sgt. Kimberly Walker was reinstalled at Spring Grove Cemetery Friday exactly one year after her death.

The monument, which has two SpongeBob tombstones, went up Oct. 10, 2013 at Spring Grove Cemetery's Section 144 but was taken down the next day after a long dispute over its design.

When Walker of Madisonville was growing up, she began watching SpongeBob SquarePants cartoons on television and was hooked.

"She just really fell in love with SpongeBob and after that everything she did it always had to have SpongeBob in it somewhere,” said Kimberly’s twin sister, Kara Walker.

Her mother, Deborah Walker, said that meant SpongeBob everywhere.

"Her bathroom -- everything was SpongeBob. Her bed, her sheets, everything was SpongeBob,” Deborah said.

Kimberly and Kara even exchanged SpongeBob bears on their 21st birthday. Kimberly's was called "Determination" and went with her to Iraq. Kara was in the Navy and took her bear "Loveable" everywhere.

Kimberly was strangled by an acquaintance on Valentine's Day in Denver. She was buried at Spring Grove Cemetery and her family had the SpongeBob themed monument created several months later.

"We were just so happy and pleased and we were just smiling from ear to ear,” Deborah said of the installing of the monument in October. “This is what my daughter wanted and we have got everything that we wanted and that she loved.”

However, the next day, it came down.

Spring Grove Cemetery president and CEO Gary Freytag said the design was chosen with the guidance of an employee who made an unfortunate error in judgment and didn't have it approved by senior management.

“Spring Grove is deeply sorry for the issues involving the monument the Walker family recently purchased,” Freytag said in October. “The monument does not fit within Spring Grove Cemetery guidelines, was not approved by senior management and cannot remain here. As an historic cemetery, we must constantly balance the needs of families who have just suffered a loss with the thousands of families who have entrusted us in the past.”

Four months after the dispute began, the monument was back up, and Freytag issued an apology to the Walker family.

“We deeply regret the distress this caused the family,” he said. “We have worked hard to remedy the problem and appreciate the cooperation we received from the family during this process.”

According to Al Gerhardstein, the Walker family’s attorney, the apology has been accepted.

Gerhardstein said the Walkers are pleased the original SpongeBob figures remain included in the monuments.

“The Walker family has other members buried at Spring Grove and it was important to resolve this dispute in a way that would preserve Spring Grove as their family cemetery,” Gerhardstein said. “The peace the family can now enjoy at Kimberly’s graveside on the beautiful grounds of the historic Spring Grove Cemetery will help them find the strength to endure the upcoming trial of the man accused in her death.”

Copyright 2014 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Print this article

Comments

Hmm... It looks like you’re not a WCPO Insider. or Subscribe now to contribute!

More Local News
Cyclones' begin push to 'take back the cup'
Cyclones' begin push to 'take back the cup'

The Cincinnati Cyclones' postseason march to the Kelly Cup begins Thursday night in Orlando.

Man crashes stolen vehicle into local home
Man crashes stolen vehicle into local home

A vehicle was stolen from Dayton, Ky. and the driver crashed it into a Union Township home Thursday morning after a police chase.

UC aims at sexual assault awareness, enforcement
UC aims at sexual assault awareness, enforcement

This time of year, high school seniors are deciding where to go to college. For many young women and their parents, the issue of campus…

Fifth Third Bancorp 1Q earnings fall 25 pct
Fifth Third Bancorp 1Q earnings fall 25 pct

Fifth Third Bancorp says its first-quarter net income fell 25 percent, mostly on a decline in its investment in its former Vantiv…

Tri-State briefs: April 17, 2014
Tri-State briefs: April 17, 2014

A wrap-up of local stories happening Thursday, April 17, 2014.

Interested in a manufacturing job?
Interested in a manufacturing job?

There are an estimated 680 unfilled local manufacturing jobs, according to the Northern Kentucky Industrial Park Industry Partnership.…

VIDEO: WCPO reporter rides the Banshee
VIDEO: WCPO reporter rides the Banshee

Kings Island is set to open Friday and this year park organizers are preparing to give visitors a real scream.

When new opens, where does Kroger go to die?
When new opens, where does Kroger go to die?

A new Kroger Marketplace opens Thursday in Northern Kentucky. But what does that mean for its old store, right next door?

2 arrested after gun fired in Brown Co. home
2 arrested after gun fired in Brown Co. home

A man called authorities from a Brown County home Friday to report another man shooting a gun under the same roof, and both men were arrested.

Is graffiti around the city art or an eyesore?
Is graffiti around the city art or an eyesore?

Students, street artists and community activists made their way to the campus of Northern Kentucky University to raise money for a good cause…