The cemetery says it must "balance the needs of families who have just suffered a loss with the thousands of families who have entrusted us in the past" and offers to pay for "a solution...that will properly memorialize Kimberly, within the context of Spring Grove’s historic landscape and guidelines."
But the family is fighting for the garish cartoon sculptures. The murdered woman's sister says: "I thought it was the greatest thing in the cemetery. I even told the people there that I think this is the best monument I’ve ever seen. It’s the best headstone in the cemetery and they all agreed. It came out really nice."
Yes, SpongeBob seems inappropriate in a cemetery, but who is to say what characters belong? If statues of angels are permitted, someone might be offended by angels. We all have our different religions and religion-like beliefs and spiritual supports. Who's to deny this family the solace they find in SpongeBob?
(Other than Nickelodeon, which owns the trademark.)