Iowa Tombstone Controversy- People Are Offended After the Family Engraves an Explicit Saying on Dad’s Headstone!

iowa tombstone controversy

One last joke is being shared by an Iowa family with their late father, but not everyone is laughing. Steven Paul Owens died in September 2021 at the age of 59 and was buried in rural Polk County’s Warren-Powers Cemetery. His family just had a headstone put on his grave, which sparked controversy.

On one side, his name, birth, and death dates are listed, along with a family message that reads, “If you don’t listen, you’ll have to feel.”

The dispute is on the other side of the stone. “Forever in our hearts, till we meet again, cherished memories known as our son, brother, father, papa, uncle, friend, and cousin,” reads the epitaph carved into the stone.

The Family’s Concealed Statement on Their Father’s Gravestone Has Sparked Debate

This is a critical scenario. As a gesture to memorialize their father, a family engraved an encoded message on his gravestone, but the cemetery staff finds it disrespectful. The phrase on Steven Paul Owens’ stone in the Warren-Powers Cemetery in Polk, Iowa, appears innocent at first glance — until the inscription is seen. On his tombstone, the first letter of each line says “f–k off.”

iowa tombstone controversy

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Steven regularly used this statement in a lighthearted manner, according to the family, who spoke to WIBW TV. “It was very clearly a term of endearment for him.” He didn’t speak to you if he didn’t like you. “It’s just how he was,” Lindsay Owens, his daughter, told WIBW television. “Forever in our hearts,” the quote specifies. Until we cross paths again. Memories to treasure. Also known as. Brother, our son. Uncle, father, and papa “I am a relative and a friend.”

The cemetery staff, on the other hand, has apparently been opposed to this concept for the gravestone from the start, claiming that swearing has no place in people’s eternal resting places. According to reports, the Owens family is hopeful that the stone will be able to stay.

“No one is pressuring people to come out and have a look at it.” That is a decision you must make. “We didn’t do it to insult, irritate, or harm anyone’s feelings,” son Zachary Owens explained.

People Are Offended After the Family Engraves an Explicit Saying on Dad’s Headstone

Steve “Stevie” Owens enjoyed teaching sports, relaxing by the lake, and imbibing a good scotch. He was also a snarky wisecracker with a standard reply of “F—- off.” When the 59-year-old grandfather died suddenly in September, his family surprised him with a personalized headstone that included the provocative phrase.

Steve’s son Zach Owens, 31, told TODAY Parents, “It was a term of endearment – because if he didn’t like you, he wouldn’t talk to you at all.” “His pals would continually try to get him to say it by putting pressure on him. He was easily agitated.”

Zach and his sister, Lindsay Owens, wanted to put the inscription on their father’s headstone, but family members were concerned that it would be too graphic.

As a result, they wrote a dedication that conveys the message when the first letter of each phrase is read in order: “Until we meet again, cherished memories, known as our brother, father, papa, uncle, buddy, and cousin, forever in our hearts.”

iowa tombstone controversy

The family felt it was a fitting tribute to their father while also demonstrating respect for visitors to Warren-Powers Cemetery in Camp Township, Polk County, Iowa. Lindsay, 34, told TODAY Parents, “I have visited his grave many times since he died away and I don’t know what the headstones say adjacent to (dad’s).”

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Lindsay stated that she had no objections to having the inscription done by a monument business. As a result, the family spent $3,200 on the stone and engraving. It was delivered to the cemetery after a six-month delay. However, a member of the Camp Township Board of Trustees, which manages and maintains the district’s cemeteries, objected to the stone, according to Lindsay.

iowa tombstone controversy

Lindsay stated, “She told us the board needed to discuss it and she’d come back to us.” “However, we never received a response. We also requested a copy of the cemetery bylaws, which we never received.”

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I'm a researcher and behavioural therapist with a PhD in Social Media. I also love to travel and drink coffee. Follow my adventures around the world, or just know that I really need to be back at the library.