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A family has sparked debate after hiding an explicit hidden message on a family member’s gravestone.

As a fun way to honour their father, the family hid a swear word on his headstone, but have now found themselves in hot water as the cemetery staff have complained that they find it offensive.

The headstone of Steven Paul Owens at the Warren-Powers Cemetery in Polk, Iowa may look innocent enough, but if you take a closer look, the words “f**k off” can be seen hidden in the first letter of each word.

The headstone read: “Forever in our hearts. Until we meet again. Cherished memories. Known as. Our son, brother. Father, papa, uncle. Friend and cousin.”

Speaking to WIBW News, the family revealed it was a phrase their father used often in a joking manner.

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Lindsay Owens, his daughter, said: “It was definitely his term of endearment. If he didn’t like you, he didn’t speak to you. It’s just who he was.”

The family added the hidden message to the tombstone as a personal way to remember their father, but cemetery staff have reportedly taken issue with it, arguing that swear words have no place in people’s resting places.

But the Owens family hopes that the headstone will be allowed to stay and argue that it’s not harming anyone since it is fairly well hidden.

Son Zachary Owens said: “No one’s forcing anyone to come out and look at it. That’s a choice that you make.

“We didn’t do it to offend anyone, make anyone mad or hurt anyone’s feelings.”

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