Tornado victim’s tombstone too big, town says |

Tornado victim’s tombstone too big, town says

LAMAR, Colo. ” After his wife was killed in an eastern Colorado tornado, Gustavo Puga drove 10 hours to Mexico to find a custom marble tombstone.

But rather than marking Rosemary Rosales’ grave, the slab is sitting in a garage because city officials say it’s too big and poses a safety hazard.

The 27-by-54-inch slab, which Puga intended to place lengthwise over Rosales’ grave, could trip people and would interfere with cemetery mowers, officials said.

Puga plans to appeal. He says the cemetery overseer had approved the stone before he bought it.

Rosales was killed when a March 28 tornado devastated nearby Holly, where she lived with Puga and their two children. He and the children survived.

Puga said he drove to Juarez, Mexico, to find a marker he wanted. He said he took a photo on his cell phone, drove back to Colorado and showed the picture to Lamar cemetery overseer Joe Neuhold.

Puga said he had the marker shipped to Lamar after Neuhold approved it.

Neuhold declined comment, referring questions to City Attorney Darla Scranton Specht.

“We can’t accommodate it for safety purposes,” Specht said.

Puga, who said he has spent $8,000 on burial expenses, wants the City Council to intervene and approve the marker.

“I’ve paid for the spot where she was buried and I wanted that stone,” Puga said. “I wasn’t able to spend the rest of my life with her, and I wanted something nice for her. I want something for my kids to see that there is something there for her.”

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