EVANSTON — For 19 years the Bear Parkway Memorial Tree Grove has provided a “place of solitude and peace” for those who have chosen to memorialize their loved ones on the stones in the grove. At this year’s dedication ceremony, former BEAR Project president Marilee Jackson said, “This place is truly special for those of us who have family members’ names here.”
The 2018 recognition ceremony, held on Saturday, Sept. 8, saw seven names added to the more than 150 names that are now on stones in the tree grove. During what is always an emotional and moving program, prayers, musical selections and readings provided guests an opportunity for quiet reflection and reminiscing.
As BEAR Project President Alex Moscinski read their names, friends and family members of those honored this year one by one placed flowers on the stones, sharing tears and leaning on one another for support. Those added to the grove were Brook M. Berger, Ray Henrikson, Benjamin C. Rhodes, Violet Pearl King, Les “Lost” Banks, John Passey and Derek Randall Laffredi.
BEAR Project board member Patricia Arnold said the grove is possible through a “wonderful partnership” between the City of Evanston, Parks and Recreation and the BEAR board. A free brunch was served to guests following the ceremony, with brunch and flowers sponsored by the BEAR Project board of directors.