The Huntley Farmside
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"tTuntley m m Farmside 350 Thursday December 21, 2000 Volume 40 No. 48 Your hometown newspaper © 2000 Press-Republican Newspapers Remembrance Tree offers opportunity to honor By Sheri Battles Correspondent A 7-foot-taU tree festooned with at least 162 omaments - many from past Remembrance Tree ceremonies - stood in the recreation center's com¬ munity room at Deicke Park on Saturday, Dec. 16 to commemorate those folks the people of Himtley hold dearest in their hearts. Since 1993, res¬ idents, to honor someone in their lives, have brought omaments to dec¬ orate the tree. According to Betsey Warrington, Huntley Park District recreation director, the omaments are usually "significant to the people that they're in honor of." She described a variety of ornaments including a bulldozer, an ambulance and one that said "gone fishin'." One particularly beau¬ tiful ornament hanging from the tree was a glass sphere with a hand-paint¬ ed farm scene on one half, and the words "In Loving Memory of 'Grandpa' Harold Swanson, 1910- 1975" on the other half. The name of the person that each ornament is hung for is recorded on a list that has been kept since the tradi¬ tion was started. At the beginning of each ceremony, every name is read from the list. Cathy DeQuaker, former executive director of Huntley's Chamber of Coimnerce, said she start¬ ed the Remembrance Tree tradition after noticing a funeral home in Algonquin with a tree decorated to honor those who had died in the past year. She said she liked the idea, but wanted to expand it to include the liv¬ ing, so people could show their appre¬ ciation to all their loved ones. Though the majority of people who have himg omaments have done so to honor a passed relative, it isn't a requirement. According to DeQuaker, the important thing is for people to remember someone special in their lives in a significant way. While she was executive director, she placed a total of four omaments on the tree: the first three to honor her grandchildren, who she said are all still around, and one in memory of her mother when she died. Deijuaker said everyone respond¬ ed very well to the idea, and there were about 75 omaments brought in the first year. "It was really cool because as peo¬ ple came in with their omaments they would tell their story. I still remember one woman who came in whose son had died," she said. Liberty photos by John Co> Daniel Regan (above, left:), Jessica Runge and Cortney Wilkerson (below from left:) ofthe Crusaders Hand Bell Choir from the First Congregational Church In Huntley performed "Joy to the World' and "The First Noel" during the Dec. 16 Remembrance Tree ceremonies.The tree is the eighth year for the program. She added that hearing the various memories "was beautiful - very, very touching. "It was really meaningful, more than just hanging an ornament on a tree," she said. DeQuaker admitted she had hoped from the beginning the Remembrance Tree would become an annual tradition and was happy it had remained a tradition after 1996, her last year as Chamber executive director. "I'm so thankful that Betsey con¬ tinued the tradition. I thought that it was really nice that she did that," she said. Warrington said she was especially excited about this year's ceremony since the Rev. Bette Zattau from the First Congregational Church of Huntley would be speaking. The area's pastors are usually unable to attend, Warrington said, since the weekends right before the holidays are so busy for them. In past years, Warrington and her husband have said the prayer, read the names on the list and spoken on the significance of the ceremony. She called it "short and sweet," but said much of the time is spent reading the extensive list. Warrington commented that the ceremony is special because it allows attendees to take a moment from the holiday msh to remember the impor¬ tant people in their Lives. As ifs nat¬ ural during the holidays for people to miss lost loved ones, too, she said the ceremony can help deal with those feelings, and may even help carry some tiirough the holidays. Beverly Eisenmenger found com¬ fort at 1997's Remembrance Tree cer¬ emony. She and her father attended and brought omaments to honor her mother, who had died in the spring of that year. "With the holidays coming...it's always hard when you have to take a chair away, and it was just a way of knowing she still was with us, I guess," she said. What she said she enjoyed about the ceremony was the remembering of fond tilings about her mother. This was reflected in the omaments she and her father placed on the tree. "My dad put on one that had to do with baking things because my moth¬ er loved to bake, and she was always baking and taking things over to neighbors. And the omament that I chose has a cardinal on it because she loved cardinals. She always liked their song, or wliistle," she said, smil¬ ing. When she found that the tree was up and decorated, she said, "I always like to go...and look at them again."
|Title||The Huntley Farmside|
|Creator||The Huntley Farmside|
|Coverage||Huntley, Illinois, United States|
|Description||Weekly Newspaper from the Huntley Area Public Library Collection|
|Rights||This material may be protected by U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17 U.S. Code).|
|Publisher||This Collection was digitized and loaded into CONTENTdm by OCLC Preservation Service Center (Bethlehem, PA) for the Huntley Area Public Library.|
|Source||Reproduction of library's print newspaper archives|