At 'Tree Of Life', Keeping Watch
By DIANE TURNER-HURNS Journal & Topics Reporter
In a quiet corner of the expansive Lange park grounds in Rosemont on N. Scott Street sits a new statue of two children smiling on a bench under a tree watching over a plaque with names of young Rosemont residents who have passed away. The area is known as the ‘Tree of Life’.
When one of her son’s good friends, James Bolas, died in a motorcycle accident, Marlene Chihoski began to wonder what Rosemont had in place to remember children the community had lost.
“We had lost so many and it was very sad. There really wasn’t anything. So in early 1996 a couple of friends and I met over coffee and came up with an idea. We started the Rosemont Tree of Life Committee,” Chihoski told the Journal & Topics this week.
Chihoski and her friends Christine Haubner and Rosalie Lennstrom decided, through the committee, they would develop a plaque with the names of Rosemont youth from newborns to age 29 who have died and find a location where the public could see and remember those lost.
“With the help of the Rosemont park dist. and the Crimson Deli Landscaping company we found a spot on the grounds of Lange park that was perfect,” Chihoski said.
“Crimson planted a tree for us and developed the garden landscaping around it,” Chihoski said. “We added a large rock and the plaque to the Tree of Life area. It was dedicated on July 14, 1996.”
Last July the statue was added. Known as the ‘companions’, the statue of a young girl and boy sitting on a bench smiling was created by the Randolph Rose Collection. It cost about $3,000, Chihoski said.