Parents decorate son’s grave with skeleton rising from ground; cemetery takes it down

FRANCESTOWN, N.H. (WBZ/CNN) - A New Hampshire family's Halloween display did not amuse the people in charge of the cemetery.

Rob and Christina Wohle lost their 18-year-old son Cole three years ago. They wanted to honor his dark sense of humor with a display on his grave.

"We were just trying to do something to honor our son's sense of humor," Rob Whole said.

Cole had a fatal heart attack shortly after a rodeo event.

His family described him as a big kid with an even bigger sense of humor.

"He's not here with us anymore, but his humor was big and it can live beyond the grave," Christina Whole said. "And it could brighten people's lives, just kind of walking by and seeing and chuckling. Cole would have loved that."

The display featured a skeleton appearing to rise out of the ground in front of the headstone - arms, legs and a skull with a cowboy hat on top.

The Francestown Cemetery Commission was not amused. They removed the display not once but three times.

The parents said they will not set it up again.

"It was something to just really remember him by and to help bring a smile down here, because it's always tears when we come down and sadness," Rob Whole said. "And he would like to see a smile on our faces and other people's faces"

Commission members told a local newspaper the display was inappropriate.

Cole's mom and dad said it was taken down without anyone contacting them.

"We've talked to other people who have loved ones buried out here," Christina Whole said. "They have had no problem with it."

The family decorates Cole's grave for other holidays, and this is the first time anyone has complained.

"If any of the neighbors here in the cemetery had a problem, we absolutely would have taken it down," Rob Whole said.

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