James Davis buried his late wife, Patsy Ruth, outside his log home, which sits on his property in Stevenson, Alabama.
The burial site was Ruth's wish, but the city rejected Davis' application for a cemetery permit in 2009, when Ruth died.
However, Davis and his son-in-law dug the grave anyway. Ruth's body was placed inside a metal casket and lowered into a concrete vault.
Now, city officials want Ruth's remains moved because they are concerned about long-term care, appearance, property values and complaints, reports the Daily Mail.
The city sued Davis, and a county judge ordered the grieving husband to move Ruth's remains to a licensed cemetery. However, that court order is on hold until a state appeals court rules. Alabama has few property laws, so the case is in a gray area.
Davis told the Daily Mail: "Good Lord, they've raised pigs in their yard, there's horses out the road here in a corral in the city limits, they've got other gravesites here all over the place. And there shouldn't have been a problem."
Davis added that he would sooner die than move his late wife's remains: "So if they order her to be moved, it's a death sentence to me. I'll meet Mama sooner than I planned on it."