It’s a form of malice that would shock anyone in Johanna Slotboom’s situation.When visiting the grave of her common law husband, Gaetano Gemma on August 5, the Castlegar resident found the headstone desecrated by what appeared to be roof patching tar.
The tandem memorial, with her own name on the right side, had the tar obscuring Mr. Gemma’s name.Feeling devastated, Ms. Slotboom came to the Castlegar News office to share her outrage and disgust.”I don’t know how anyone can do that,” sobbed the woman whose 87th birthday is only a couple of weeks away.
“Somebody doing that, doing that much damage…”Ms Slotboom said she had not yet contacted police and expressed doubt over how effective it would have been to do so. She did wonder aloud how often the city cemetery is checked at night.
Another adjoining grave site had been disturbed as well, having its flowers strewn about in a haphazard fashion.”I paid $2,000 for that gravestone,” she sighed. “It’s all wrecked up.”Mr.Gemma passed away on December 5, 2010 and Ms. Slotboom has been a frequent visitor to his burial site ever since.
“I don’t think anyone from the city even goes up there,” she said of the civic facility in the 2300 block of 14th Avenue.Police and civic officials had been contacted for comment on the matter, but had not responded as of late Friday afternoon.
City Councillor Gord Turner was asked about the facility and whether this type of act happens very often.”Not a common occurrence at all,” he replied, “rare, in fact.”