Woman in battle with Tarpon Springs over headstone for her late father, a World War II veteran

Better Call Behnken

Tarpon Springs' old regulation stipulates only the "owner" of the gravesite can approve headstone; since he is dead, daughter would have to get a court order


TARPON SPRINGS, FLA. (WFLA) – Margie Bridges just wants to honor her recently deceased father, William Bridges, with a headstone. She can’t understand why the City of Tarpon Springs said no.

She turned to Better Call Behnken for answers, and 8 On Your Side Investigator Shannon Behnken uncovered an old city regulation that city leaders say prohibits the family from just putting up a headstone.

“All I want to do is put a rock on that grave,” Bridges said. “That’s it. I just want his name, and the fact that he’s a World War II veteran carved for everyone to know how special he was.”

But unless Tarpon Springs steps up to change or make an exception to an old city regulation, Bridges will have to get a court order.

The problem? Tarpon Springs requires “the owner” of the gravesite to give permission for the headstone. Mr. Bridges did not have a will, so there is no executor of the estate to make that decision.

Bridges said she has consulted with lawyers and going through probate could cost her thousands of dollars just in order to be able to buy the $1,200 headstone.

“At 17, he enlisted,” Bridges said. “He fought. He was on the beaches of Normandy and on the day he died, he had shrapnel in his chest. He fought for this country and now fighting for him to be recognized.”

Tune in tonight at 6 p.m. to see Shannon’s full report on News Channel 8.

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