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Holland man at odds with township over wife’s headstone

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HOLLAND TWP. - Mike Bradford spent nearly $4,000 designing and creating his wife's headstone at North Holland Cemetery.  Before applying his wife Vicki's favorite statue of a goose, Lucy Goosey, Bradford says he asked for permission from the Township Board.  He says he received permission and installed it in September.

Bradford says within two months he started receiving letters from the township and eventually the township's attorney telling him it had to come down or they'd remove Lucy Goosey for him.  Holland Township said the headstone violated the rules of their ordinance, specifically the part about no statues.

"I would have been a little upset, a little bummed out if they told me that I couldn't do it (originally), but I'd rather have dealt with that then, then to deal with this now, " said Bradford.

After several months of back and forth, the township removed the entire headstone last-week.

"My sister-in-law called me bawling on Monday because she came here and found it empty, completely gone.   They took the whole headstone and it`s out back there just sitting there," Bradford added.

Township Manager Don Komejan would not speak on camera on the matter, but told FOX 17, "We want to sit down collectively with Mr. Bradford to resolve this issue and we're ready to do that but he refuses to meet with us."

Bradford told FOX 17, if the township offered to pay for a new headstone, without Lucy Goosey, he'd be willing to put the entire issue to rest adding, "I want my wife to lay at rest and this is just tough on the whole family."


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  • tnts

    This is utter BS! It is totally the township’s fault. They shouldn’t have agreed if they didn’t want this headstone in their cemetery and they sure as heck shouldn’t have removed the stone. The goose is attached to the stone.and off the ground. Why is it any different than the flowers and urns that are throughout this cemetery?!

  • Tracy

    How terrible of the township to first tell him it was ok, then change their mind. I would love seeing a cemetery where each headstone reflects who the deceased person was. I hope the township realizes they are the ones that made the mistake and pay for the new headstone!

  • Daniel L. Taylor Sr.

    If this issue were to be brought to a professional mediator, he would rule in favor of Mr. Bradford.

  • Glennie Kleinjans Bruursema

    I live across the street from that cemetery and the township should be more concerned about the beer bottles left on the grave stones after a night of celebrating a birthday, anniversary, or other special event of the deceased. We have seen many different things go on in the cemetery, From church services to mariachi bands to incense burning to actual fist fights. A precious little goose that had such special meaning to Vickie is not offensive in the least. The neighbors would welcome it back .

  • Dawn Price

    Who really cares what is on that headstone? How does it really bother anyone? If one stops and thinks about it, just how often to people visit a cemetery anyways? To remove that stone was a disgrace on the township and I personally am glad that I no longer reside in Michigan, especially if the townships act like spoiled little children.

  • Astrand

    It sounds like the cemetary needs to get their ducks in a row! You can’t give permission and then rescind it without consequences. I hope, for his sake, Mr. Bradford has the approval of the headstone in writing and they have to pay the piper!

  • Holly jacobson

    If it was a policy, they should have said “no” initially. Not after the fact. I’d really love to know why it’s not allowed? You can mow around it. Shouldn’t be a problem for groundskeepers. What problem is it creating? This seems ridiculous to me and a bit cruel to the family. I really hope they resolve this and have some compassion for the family. Put the headstone back. So silly!

  • Mallory

    Classy Holland, really classy! Seems like there’s a 1,000 other things would be more productive than making this man’s mourning process a further Hell. Shame on you.

  • GT

    If the goose is attacked permanently then it would be part of the monument which I bet they allow. The definition of a monument includes : a statue.

  • Wendy

    ALWAYS get permission in writing… if it’s not in writing it’s not considered to happen!! I hope he gets this resolved. I don’t think the township should have removed it had he gotten permission first.

  • Shiloh's Mom

    What this story does NOT tell you is that Mr. Bradford is lying through his teeth. He NEVER got permission from the township; never even asked. His claim that he asked permission and they said OK is totally MADE UP. NEVER HAPPENED. Now he’s trying to make the whole community feel sorry for him. Have you SEEN this hideous looking goose? It is COMPLETELY inappropriate for a cemetery and and so hillbilly it’s ridiculous. Kudos to the township for not allowing this tacky crap in their cemetery.

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