Cemetery Bench Removed in Susquehanna County

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SPRINGVILLE TOWNSHIP -- For about two years, a bench painted like an American flag sat next to the grave of Staff Sergeant Andrew Stevens at Lynn Cemetery just outside Springville.

The marine was killed in a crash on Route 29 in Springville Township back in 2015 when his pickup truck was hit by a water truck.

Since then, you can see plenty of mementos including flags, flowers, and figurines surrounding his grave.

What's not there anymore is that American flag bench. Some family wondered where it went, whether it was stolen or just missing.

Newswatch 16 got in touch with the president of the Lynn Cemetery Association; he said new rules and new signs had been in place for months, telling people about what was allowed next to graves and what wasn't. At this cemetery, the signs say anything more than a foot and a half away from the stone will be removed. Cemetery officials say they notified one member of Stevens' family about the violation, but the bench stayed there.

So after several months, when it was time to do a cleanup at the cemetery before Memorial Day, cemetery officials removed the American flag bench. And just like an American flag, it was ceremoniously burned.

"It was removed and nobody had any knowledge of where it was," said Amanda Novitch, Stevens' sister. "If it needed to be removed by the family, we would have been more than happy to do that, but we just wanted to know where it was."

Novitch, along with cemetery officials, hopes others can learn from this situation about what can and cannot be put next to gravestones.


  • ASRCreations

    It was a memorial bench, if they couldn’t get through to someone they should have tried again. It was not necessary to burn the bench! It could have been placed by the out building. This is unexcusable destruction of someones property! For the kids sake, she should have been able to take it home. Have a heart people! Personally, I think many of them should be made and placed in the cemetery for visitors to rest on. It would make it nicer for everyone including the family that lost theirs. Compromise!

  • Joanne Klecha

    They should have to replace the bench. At least they could put it somewhere else. I went to that cemetery quite often. I never saw any signs stating that benches or such items were not allowed. Don’t you think if their were signs the family would removed it.. Which family member did they contact oh yeah they didn
    t come up with a name. I am sure they didn’t burn probably sitting in someone’s yard.

  • Caeser194

    Coal crackers are so full of hate today.But I’ll give you credit,no cars have landed in a living room in 2 days,who thought that was possible

  • emt711

    Yeah knowing the family they didn’t think they were the exception. They didn’t break the rules as there was not the rule until just recently and it was just posted within the last couple weeks. If the owner of the plot, his wife, had been notified they would have removed it. But good job jumping to conclusions you narrow minded jerkoff.

  • CeeMe

    Things nowadays, even in cemeteries, seem so petty. There’s has to be a “rule” for everything. Was the bench an inconvenience when cutting the grass? If not, what was the problem with having it there?

  • mary

    I love that channel 16 promotes bullying online because most of the comments go above and beyond opinions. We are all human mistakes happen could the cemetary have sent registered mail and called? In my opinion they should have and lol we did win the last war the recent ones are not considers wars but “conflicts”

    • snarf snarf

      Bullying? Really? I can tell your a snowflake. Maybe this websight is too much for you. There’s plenty of cyber safe places out there for you if a news blog is too harsh for you.

  • Caeser194

    Besides being a veteran he was killed in the such a terrible way,while at home.Ignorant coward

  • John

    My father and grandfather were both in the military! If you dont like your freedom then get the hell out of the country!!

  • Janice Rahr

    You have the freedom to say such terrible things because of the men and women who gave their lives fighting for your freedom. My Grandfather, my Uncle, my husband and my son all fought for our country and our freedom to speak and you choose to slander them. Please go away.

  • Chuck

    They take our Memorials down after a certain time period in the cemetery’s our relatives are buried in, it’s standard practice.

  • MMMM

    Why is it nobody wants to follow rules. A family member was notified about the bench and dd not remove it. It was there for months, they had time to remove it. Why is it everybody wants a free pass when they think they are wronged and then make a stink about it. Rules are made for a reason! To keep order. Follow the rules and there will be no problems.

    • Amanda Novitch

      No one in my family was notified!!! They claimed that we were but we were not. We would have been more than happy to remove the bench! As far as we all knew, it was fine where it was. We aren’t looking for a “free pass”- we just wanted to know what happened to it so that if need be, we would remove it and place it elsewhere. I don’t know you and you sure don’t know my family but we are far from “entitled” and we surely do not act that way either.

      • MMMM

        Well then if that’s the case, the family ignored the signs posted! Follow the rules and there will be no problems. Everybody wants to be catered to and coddled. Life doesn’t work that way. Still looking to shift the blame on someone else.

    • Cyndi

      They say they notified a family member, but what family member. Seems to me, they should have notified the wife or the man’s mother? Don’t you think? But they didn’t. Instead, they lied about what happened to the bench. That’s right, they lied. If they lied about what happened to the bench, they lied about contacting some random family member for which they can not name. Cowards.

      • Amanda Novitch

        They said they notified my sister-in-law’s mother but they did not. They can’t contact my mother because, unfortunately, she lost her battle with cancer this past December. They could have contacted my father but they did not.

      • Caeser194

        I feel so bad for the family,his widow and son.The ignorant cowards that talk tough behind a screen.If anyone was interested or willing we should do something for his memory.Just an idea.

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