The funeral, which benefited a local group that works to end homelessness and drug abuse, was held Saturday at Sunset Memorial Park in the North Valley. The funeral drew about 200 people and featured several speakers who spoke about the show and outlined ways to donate money to the organization, Albuquerque Health Care for the Homeless.
Spectators stood on real gravestones while cheering and applauding during the character’s funeral, and some family members of deceased relatives told local news media that they were offended by the display as they arrived at the cemetery to mourn.
A cemetery spokesman also told the
Journal that officials there would remove the stone if it became a tourist attraction. The flat gravestone has the character’s face and birth and death date inscribed. Walter White is the main character in “Breaking Bad,” which is a show about White’s transition from a high school chemistry teacher to a murderous meth kingpin. White died in the series finale.
As a result of the petition and the outcry, Vernon’s Steakhouse on North Fourth, which organized the funeral and set up the charity endowment fund, has decided to install the stone on one of its outside walls. It will also create a small park-like area to allow viewers to rest and take pictures, and a camera will be set up to deter theft and stream video over the Internet all day and all night.
“We didn’t want to disrespect anybody. Period,” said steakhouse spokesman Jackamoe Buzzell, who said he met with one of the petition’s organizers and apologized to him Tuesday.
Buzzell said the gravestone was never actually placed at the cemetery because it was immediately taken to a reception at the steakhouse on Saturday, and it wasn’t returned because of the feedback organizers got in addition to rumors that the stone would be stolen.
“I’m glad we did take it because I’m pretty sure it would have been stolen,” Buzzell said.
Buzzell added that the funeral and associated events raised more than $22,000 for the organization. He said that the funeral was organized over the space of two weeks and that organizers never thought twice about having the ceremony in an actual cemetery.
“I don’t regret anything that happened,” Buzzell said. “It’s a miracle that we pulled this off.”