BETHEL TWP. — Last week, the grave of Emmert and Jane Studebaker, founders of Process Equipment Company in Bethel Township, was vandalized.
The couple’s headstone, located in a private family cemetery on Studebaker Road in Bethel Township, was toppled.
The Studebaker’s granddaughter Beth van Haaren, a Bethel Township trustee, said the family is shocked and saddened by the vandalism.
“It’s just heartbreaking. My family has lived in Bethel Township for over 200 years and I feel like they’ve always been contributing members to this community and to the church in their community,” she said. “It’s just really hurtful.”
A report was filed with the Miami County Sheriff’s Office on Thursday. The headstone was knocked over sometime between the last Friday in July and the first week of August, the family said.
According to granddaughter Heather Bailey of Tipp City, Emmert and Jane died nearly 20 years ago.
Bailey added that the large, double tablet headstone was specially designed and made of imported granite. It stood more than 5 feet tall and 6 feet long. The stone weighs roughly 3,400 pounds, she said.
”It took a lot of work to push this over,” she said.
Van Haaren added that the cemetery is also hard to find and that only one headstone was damaged.
“Why would you pick out just one gravestone and why would you damage it to the extent that they did?” she said.
The family is asking that anyone with information about the incident contact the Miami County Sheriff’s Office at (937) 440-6085 or submit an anonymous tip online at www.miamicountysheriff.org/contact-us-1/tips.