The Lookout

Grave mistake: Ed Koch’s tombstone engraved with wrong birth date

The man who engraved former New York City Mayor Ed Koch's tombstone has apologized for putting on the wrong birth date.

Tommy Flynn, the owner of Flynn Funeral and Cremation Memorial Services, told NBC's New York affiliate that he inadvertently listed Koch's birth year as 1942 instead of 1924. Flynn says he feels "terrible" and has vowed to correct the grave error, which was discovered over the weekend.

Koch, 88, died in February of congestive heart failure. He was buried in Trinity Church cemetery in Manhattan.

According to Koch's former Chief of Staff Diane Coffey, the Democratic mayor, preparing for his death in the 1980s, had planned "every detail of [his] burial," including the headstone.

Koch, the city's mayor from 1978 to 1989, bought the plot in the New York Washington Heights neighborhood in 2008. "I don't want to leave Manhattan, even when I'm gone," he said at the time.

[Related: A brash, colorful and often confrontational mayor (slideshow)]

According to NBC 4, Koch designed his tombstone, which included a quote from journalist Daniel Pearl before he was killed by Islamist terrorists: "My father is Jewish, my mother is Jewish, I am Jewish." Koch even visited the cemetery plot with his tombstone in place.

But the 5-foot-tall, 6-foot-wide grave marker did not list his birth date when he was buried. Flynn etched the erroneous year earlier this month.

"I have to make it right," Flynn said. "I will correct it."

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