For Everything There Is a Season: Memorial Trees Taken Down

On Saturday, September 19, 2021, at the beginning of our Church Beautification Volunteer Work Day, a somber ceremony marked the end of an era at Heritage as our two remaining memorial trees – planted just after our current building opened in 1985 – were removed. The trees had been dying for a couple of years, and no longer even had very many of their evergreen needles remaining.

Three young evergreen trees were planted next to the entrance to Heritage Church as part of the opening of our building, and they flourished, as did the congregation. They were known as the “Three Sisters,” in honor of three church matriarchs – Clara Hasameir, Alma Weiner, and Elsa Waterman.

As the three evergreens grew, several older church members who had been with us since the time we were known as First Universalist Church – including those three elder members of the Clara Barton Guild – passed away, and the area around the trees became the first memorial garden at our new location. Bob and Meredith Vickers’ ashes are buried there, and others’ have been scattered under those beloved trees.

In time, one of the “Three Sisters” itself died, the victim of a bagworm infestation – but the other two thrived so much, and grew so tall and brilliant green that in 2016 they won the very first “Great Tree Award” given out by Anderson Township.

The late Connie Booth, who by then had become one of our wise elder women, was present to receive the award when the trees were honored by the township. Connie, of course, was a horticulturalist and a Master Gardener, and knew just how special, and how delicate, these Colorado Blue Spruce trees were. She also happened to be a native of Colorado herself.

Sadly, not long after we received the Great Tree Award, the two remaining trees developed a fatal fungus called “needlecast,” the result of a particularly wet spring. The disease causes evergreens to lose their needles, and slowly die. After several treatments by an arborist, it was determined that the Two Sisters could not be saved, and so on September 19, 2021, they came down – but not before we said a few words of thanks and honored all that they had meant and symbolized to our congregation over the years.

Other trees will take their place, and grow, and thrive – just as other people will join the church. Such, as Rev. Bill told us that day, is the turning of the wheel. Such is the turning of the seasons.

The “Two Sisters” evergreen trees when they were healthy.
Award given for the “Two Sisters” trees, 2016.
The “Two Sisters” trees suffering from needlecast fungus.
Preparing to cut down a tree.
After removal of the trees.