Tombstone with father’s hidden message is causing controversy

Published: Jun. 15, 2022 at 6:20 PM CDT
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POLK COUNTY, Iowa (KCCI) - Some people love to get the last laugh, even in death.

A tombstone in Iowa is causing a bit of a stir because of a message hidden in plain sight that some people find offensive.

Each tombstone reads something different - some even with hidden messages, like the one for Steven Paul Owens.

The first letter of each phrase on his tombstone in the Warren-Powers Cemetery reads “F--- off.”

It’s a phrase the Owens family said he shared often and jokingly.

“It was definitely his term of endearment. If he didn’t like you, he didn’t speak to you. It’s just who he was,” said Steven’s daughter Lindsay Owens.

It’s something his family did as a harmless way to remember him, but it has been called into question by the cemetery.

Staff said they’ve been against the headstone from the beginning, as profanity has no place where loved ones are laid to rest for eternity.

Now, the family hopes they don’t have to get rid of the gravestone.

“No one’s forcing anyone to come out and look at it. That’s a choice that you make. We didn’t do it to offend anyone, make anyone mad or hurt anyone’s feelings. We did it because it was our father, and we love him, and that’s how we remember him,” Steven’s son Zachary Owens said.

The cemetery gave no immediate word if the family would be forced to remove the tombstone.

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