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The Sanpete Messenger

Moroni man’s memorial at odds with city ordinance change

Wales resident Roy Pogue buried his wife in the Moroni City Cemetery in November 2017, and has been making a monument for their graves for the past two years. Pogue’s large homemade grave marker, however, may violate new city ordinances.

 

Moroni man’s memorial at odds

with city ordinance change

 

By Kristi Shields

Staff writer

7-23-2020

 

MORONI—A resident’s vision to erect a homemade monument on his own and his late wife’s graves has been diminished due to city regulations.

For the past two years, Roy Pogue of Wales has been building a special grave marker for his and his wife’s plots in the Moroni City Cemetery, where his wife wished to be buried with her family.

As he stayed in touch with the cemetery sexton, he was in compliance with the existing ordinance; however the city council passed an updated ordinance on June 18, resulting in his monument being in violation of the new ordinance.

The ordinance regarding monuments and markers state: “All monuments or markers erected in the city’s cemetery shall be restricted in size and general make-up and shall only be erected by the issuance of a permit provided by the administrative office.”

According to the ordinance, markers must be no higher than 36 inches from ground level. For a single grave, the foundation must be no wider than 24 inches, and no longer than 46 inches, and for a double grave, no longer than 80 inches to the outer perimeter of the cement foundation.

Pogue said he is in compliance with the 80 inches length requirement—which didn’t change—but his marker is roughly 70 inches tall because there were originally no height restrictions.

The 2,000 pound monument has two tree stumps—one 5 feet 4 inches tall representing his wife and one 5 feet 9 inches representing him.

Pogue points out that several headstones in the cemetery are taller than 36 inches, but they were placed before the ordinance went into effect.

Pogue feels as though he is being treated poorly after being told by Mayor Paul Bailey that he doesn’t want any homemade headstones in the cemetery.

Bailey said the headstone is an issue because it’s as long as two plots; and the headstone will need to be moved again when Pogue is buried.

“Then who’s going to pay to move this huge headstone again?” Bailey said.

However, Pogue argues that the reason for the width restriction of the foundation is so there is room to dig the second grave without needing to move it.

The two stumps have two limbs cross over the top of a bench, which he says replicates their unity. The two stumps are also morphed into the stone of the bench, representing that there is no greater foundation of their love and family than stone.

“It’s different from any other monument in the cemetery,” Pogue said. “But it’s not horrendous; it all has a meaning from bottom to top.”

Moroni resident Amanda Frutos said, “I don’t know what the problem would be.”

Another Moroni resident, Mackenzie Martinez, took an interest in Pogue’s monument and wanted to support him by starting a petition, which had 210 signatures so far.

Residents who signed the petition left thoughtful comments as reasoning’s for signing.

“He is simply asking to honor his wife’s memory and place a beautifully and lovingly constructed unique dual headstone,” M. L. said.

Tracy L. commented, “It’s a beautiful tribute to his wife.”

Pogue said he was happy to hear about the petition circulating, and that he is so grateful for the residents’ support.

Bailey said: “They can get as many signatures as they want. If it’s not the ordinance, it’s not the ordinance.”

Bailey said people can’t just expect to be able to put whatever headstones in the cemetery as they please with no guidelines.

“This is personal for me and my wife and my family, I didn’t even want the world to know about it,” Pogue said. “The whole thing has a meaning. I’ve been working on it for over two years because it was something important to me.”

Pogue will meet with the council at the next city council meeting on Aug. 20 to discuss the situation further.