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This Iowa Man's Tombstone Has a Hidden Message

The town is none too happy about it.

Steven Owens, of Polk County Iowa, died in 2021, and his loving family laid him to rest in the town cemetery. However, the man’s headstone is causing a bit of a local controversy, due to a message hidden within its words.


The headstone has his name, but on the back is written the following inscription:

“Forever in our hearts
Until we meet again
Cherished memories
Known as

Our Son, Brother
Father, Papa, Uncle
Friend, and Cousin”

If you read the first letter of each line down, you can see what they are going for.

Family members say that Owens was always a bit of a prankster, and that he was especially fond of using that crude phrase with friends, as a sign off, a greeting, and in casual conversation.

However, many people in the town find this hidden message offensive and have complained to the city and insisted it be removed from the headstone. Staff at the cemetery say that people’s eternal resting place is no place for profanity, while the family insists that they are trying to memorialize their loved one accurately and no one is making anyone search this man’s headstone for deeper meanings.

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.

Viewers of this video seem to agree. “Leave the man alone and mind your business,” says one commenter, indicative of the general atmosphere of the comments section. “The fact that everyone in town is worked up over it explains why he did it,” observes another. While there is a limit to the types of things that should appear on public monuments, this one seems pretty harmless.