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Heads Of Three Stooges Grace Fallen NJ Firefighter’s Headstone

James Bechtold's headstone (Credit: WCBS 880/ Levon Putney

James Bechtold’s headstone (Credit: WCBS 880/ Levon Putney

METUCHEN, N.J. (CBSNewYork) - When a New Jersey firefighter died five years ago, he wanted to have familiar faces etched into his headstone.

At Hillside Cemetery in Metuchen — straight ahead after the entrance and where the driveway splits — is the headstone for James Bechtold, a 50-year-old Metuchen firefighter who tragically died five years ago.

“I think his headstone speaks volumes for him,” Metuchen fire chief Robert Donnan, an old friend of Bechtold’s, told WCBS 880’s Levon Putney.

WCBS 880’s Levon Putney reported

What makes his headstone so unique and hard to miss, you ask? The stone heads of Larry, Curly and Moe are sticking up from it, and it reads, “Laugh. Don’t weep.”

“It was in his will, that’s what he wanted,” Donnan added. “When you go to visit him, rather than sitting there with a tear you see the Three Stooges looking at you, and you can’t help but laugh.”

Donnan said the 20-year firefighter was a Three Stooges fan, but he believes that the characters’ heads hold a deeper meaning for his dear friend.

“More than being a fan of them, he wanted them to represent laughter, just to find a way to laugh at anything,” Donnan said. “But I’m sure he would have been in the first row of the first showing of the movie.”

A groundskeeper at the grave site says people stop by all the time to take pictures with Bechtold’s Three Stooges headstone, still making folks smile five years later.

Would you want anything special like that on your headstone? Share your thoughts and comments below…