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In Honor & Memory; The Tree of Names and Lights
A tradition rekindled in 2019
January 3, 2020

t wasn’t always a Christmas tree. According to Grace Evans, it started as lights strung on a cedar tree at Main and Factory streets. In 1989 & 90, it was lights on a big oak tree in Lou Mac Park, and after that – up until 2007 – it was a ditch bank cedar tree wherever one could be found.

The names of honored loved ones living and dead, some on two legs and some on four, had been there from the beginning.

Tree of Names and Lights
In Lou Mac Park, the Tree of Names and Lights.

The tradition was put on hold around 2010, but this year, Grace Evans pushed for the tree’s return. She’d quit the Tree of Names and Lights when she felt she could no longer make ornaments or help with the decorations.

But this year, she had some help. Marsha Paplham secured the tree and tied all the bows for the ornaments. The Town of Oriental set up the tree and lights, and held the donation money, making sure it got where it was supposed to.

To get a name on this year’s tree, a letter had to be sent the old way – through the postal system. A name, a designation (In Honor or In Memorium), and a donation arrived in Grace’s post office box. Grace created the ornaments, made to resemble a candle. Red or green bows (red for names In Honor, green for names In Memory) decorated the end.

Tree of Names and Lights
In Lou Mac Park, the Tree of Names and Lights.

A small tree lighting ceremony was held after the Spirit of Christmas parade. Names were added until Dec 31.

Those ornaments that weren’t taken by friends and family are kept by Grace for the coming year.

There was some extra money donated to the fund this year, Grace says. There were 119 tags requested and $660 given. Donations were earmarked for the Ocracoke Recovery Fund, to help with the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian.

These are the names on this year’s tree. Pets are in quotes. Numbers indicate more than one person requested the name:

In Honor
Berkley Hill
Eleanor (E.D.) Kennedy
Roger Cordes
Stephanie Gage
Maggie Boop
Elizabeth Cordes 2
Diane Miller
Fay Bond
Leslie Kellenberger
Grace Evans
Marsha Paplham
Eric Kindle
Sherri Hicks
Keith Smith
Melinda Penkava
Sally Truitt Belangia
Earl Schaffer
Leona Schaffer
Richard Schaffer
John Brittingham
Oriental & Pamlico County Rotarians
Jimmy & Elizabeth
Anne Evans
Jimmy Kellenberger
Carla Lilley
Keith Bruno
Bishop Hope

In Memory
Norma Smith
Hubert Smith
Ann Smith
Tom Smith
Joe Harris
Mark Harris
Loved Ones
Florence Mitchell
Maddi Vattilana
Gabby Vattilana
Jim Smith
Arden Martenz
Keith Funk
Bud Hicks
Eddie Kaplan
“Cleo” MacDonald
Chris Daly
John Babits
Rich Payne
“Whitley” Leavitt
Gerald Hedrick
Sol Kennedy
Barbara (Bobbie) McIntosh
Len Minnick
Jack Higgs
Fonnie Higgs
Brantley Norman Sr.
Brandon Alan Raper
Les Evans 4
Barry Osmun
Bob Smith
Carl Baxley
George Hurley
Ted Mead 2
Caleb Marsh
Paul Wherley
Dave Batchelor
Larry & Betty Flowers
Stowey Santimaw
Bob Andrews
Joe Wakefield
Nancy Miller
Rosa Caruso
Raleigh Wynne
Minnesott Mike
Melisa J. Powers – Oliver
Jane R. Warnock
Ned Delamar III
Molly Proctor
Ned & Libby Delamar
Bill Boone
Sam Myers Sr.
Chef Bob Miller
Kelly Cohen
Wally Chapin
Mary Clyde Truitt Dunn
Lucille Truitt
Billy Truitt
Connie Schmidt 2
William A. Graf
William E. Graf
Ernest Bareuther
Alan Lynch
Mitzie Lynch
Mary Ferris
Steve Serjeont
Richard Barton
Mr. & Mrs. Cliff Hackett
Michael Sutton
Anne Holloway
Betty Cordes
Annie Sue James
Frances Sanders Ruth
Joseph M. Preston Cmdr. USN
G.M. Anderson
Bea McGruther
Ralph McGruther
Lois Borgman
John Borgman

Posted Friday January 3, 2020 by Allison DeWeese

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