Cemetery to have same-sex couple’s memorial restored, husband is told

DAYTON — The leadership at a Dayton cemetery said they will make good on a Yellow Springs man’s complaint that a headstone he bought was changed because someone wanted to erase his same-sex marriage.

Darrell Frye, in mid-October, told News Center 7 he believed Calvary Cemetery purposefully defaced his husbands’ headstone. Frye chose the cemetery because his husband, Jason Neto, was Catholic and gay. They met in 2007. Neto suffered a fatal heart attack in 2020.

>> PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Same-sex couple claims area cemetery removed marriage date from headstone

Frye said he chose the sanctuary preserve at Calvary, a Catholic cemetery, because that was in the spirit of what Neto was as a person. The people at Calvary assured him there would be no issue with purchasing a plot there or that the purchase was for a gay couple.

Frye said he decided to keep the message on the memorial boulder for his husband’s grave simple because there was limited space on its face. In August, the boulder was placed on the gravesite and included their names, dates of birth and Neto’s death, and the line “married 23 July 2016.”

Frye said when he visited the cemetery on Labor Day, the boulder was gone. He said he was told by the cemetery that the engraver noticed some of the text and edges were crumbling.

The boulder was taken away for repairs and returned a month later -- without the line about the marriage.

It had been erased, Frye said.

Frye hired an attorney. The cemetery’s executive director told News Center 7 in mid-October that a statement would be issued “at the appropriate time.”

That time came this week.

“I have met with the leadership team at Calvary,” Frye said in an email Thursday. “They have offered a full and unconditional apology for their mistake and expressed a sincere interest in making amends and in restoring the memorial boulder to its original state or an acceptable equivalent.”

Calvary issued the following statement to News Center 7, also on Thursday: “Calvary has met in person with Darrell Frye. His public statement release is accurate and much appreciated. We will be working with the engraver to restore the memorial immediately.”