Stephen Owens was a harmless man when he said “F — off” to people.
“He was easily fired, but it was a kind of playfulness,” his son, Zachary Owens, told McClutch News.
It was this cheeky yet loving spirit that Owens’ children tried to capture in their father’s tombstone after they died in September at the age of 59.
“Forever in my heart.
Until we meet again.
An important memory.
Our son, brother.
Father, dad, uncle.
Friends and Cousins read a tombstone showing Stephen Owens’s tomb at the Powers Warren Cemetery in Runnells, Iowa, about 20 miles southeast of Des Moines.
Casual passers-by may not notice anything unusual about the tombstone, but if you look closely, you’ll see that the first letter of each phrase says “F — off”. I understand this.
When the graveyard manager saw the design drawings, they made it a problem, Stephen Owens’ daughter Lindsey Owens told McClutch News. However, the company that made the tombstone, the Wittenbeck Memorial in Ankeny, told the cemetery that they would proceed with the installation unless a court injunction was issued to prevent them from entering it.
The phone number for Powers-Warren Cemetery was not found. The message McClatchyNews left in RunnellsCityHall was not returned. Wittenbeck Memorial did not return a request for comment.
Lindsay Owens said one person has filed an anonymous complaint with the local press since the tombstone was installed more than two weeks ago.
“It’s not anyone’s job,” she said. “If you don’t like it, go away.”
Lindsay Owens said her dad, who was a fun and loving father and grandfather, wouldn’t have wanted all these problems.
“It’s not who he was,” she said. “He didn’t care what everyone was thinking.”
Stephen Owens, who worked in the printing industry, was often caught flashing peace signs in his photographs and dancing with his granddaughter, even though he was a “bad dancer.”
“He was a happy man,” said Zachary Owens. “He loved to have fun.”
Owens’ children said the problem had to be resolved between the cemetery and the Wittenberg Memorial, but hoped that the father’s tombstone would not have to be removed or modified.
“I don’t think it really affects anyone else,” said Zachary Owens. “Few people actually come across it, and those who know what it means mean something to them for a reason. Random passers-by shouldn’t notice it. It’s for the family and a way to honor our father. “
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