Families say 'Rods & Stones' car show at cemetery is disrespectful

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Families of loved ones buried at Roselawn Cemetery in Roseville, Minnesota call plans to host a car show on cemetery-owned land disrespectful. The Roselawn Cemetery Car Show has been in the works for months, but outrage has grown in recent days as word spread about the event, which is planned for this Saturday, Aug. 20.

“My family chose Roselawn Cemetery as my father’s resting place because of the fact that it is a very peaceful cemetery, absolutely beautiful place,” said Ruth Willard, whose father, Korean War veteran Vincent Sura, is buried at Roselawn. “Cemeteries are not a place for car shows, they’re a place for families to gather, and pay respects to their loved ones.”

Cemetery officials said the event will be held in an open field owned by the cemetery off Larpenteur Avenue, but away from any gravesites.

“I think that they should be aware of the fact we would never do anything that would disrespect our lot owners here at Roselawn,” said Larry Hudella, Superintendent of Roselawn Cemetery. “The cemetery is run by lot owners, we’re a nonprofit.”

Hudella said proceeds from the classic car show will benefit the Minnesota Sports Road Association’s Scholarship Foundation. Hudella said the group’s founder is buried at the cemetery, and several members are lot owners. The event will feature food and 1950s era music.

“It’s been really well-received by everybody until the last day or so,” Hudella said.

Upset relatives launched an online petition seeking to get the event canceled or moved. Others have called the cemetery’s office expressing outrage.

“Being a car enthusiast and having a son-in-law buried in the cemetery, I can see both sides of it,” said Randall Roatch, who lives close to the cemetery. “But I see it as being disrespectful to the loved ones of their families that are buried there.’

Hudella said he understands the concerns, and plans to seek board members input once again. So far, the event is still scheduled for Saturday.

Thank you to several Fox 9 viewers who contacted us on Facebook with this story tip.