Dad's Dogwood

The Dogwood which my family sponsored, and I helped to plant, outside the 3rd Street Playground in Brooklyn's Prospect Park.
Dad's Memorial Dogwood in Prospect Park

My father's birthday was November 2. He would have been 79. He died almost two years ago, early in the morning of December 1, 2008. I've been going back over what I wrote about his death. But the best thing to read, to get a sense of who he was, is in his own words: How Old Will I Be?

This morning, Blog Widow and I helped plant a tree in his memory in Prospect Park. The Prospect Park Alliance Commemorative Giving program provides opportunities to sponsor an existing tree or plant a new tree. There are no plaques or signs on the trees themselves or in the park; their Web site provides an online register, indexed by commemoration name, of the sponsored trees, their locations, and the season they were planted, going back to 1983. My father was born and raised in Brooklyn, so this seemed an appropriate way for the family to remember him.

My Dad's favorite tree was the native Dogwood, Cornus florida, so that's what the family selected to commemorate him. Luis Lemus, the Prospect Park arborist who coordinated this morning's planting, told me he purchased it from a nursery in Pennsylvania. Just three days ago it was in the ground. And now it is again. Luis was joined by his Parks colleagues, Eric and Jose. The three-man crew made quick work of planting. It was all over in a little more than a half-hour.

The location is lovely, just outside the 3rd Street Playground, behind Litchfield Villa. Prospect Park lost hundreds of trees over the past year, in a winter storm, and this summer's tornado-macroburst storm. A few large trees were taken down in this location, opening up the canopy. Countless thousands of park visitors, a few of whom we met and spoke with during the planting, will enjoy this tree for decades to come.



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Gerard Kreussling, 1931-2008


Prospect Park Alliance: Commemorative Trees


meemsnyc said...

What a lovely tribute to your dad. Dogwoods are beautiful trees. I'm sorry to read about your loss.

Matthew said...

This is a lovely tribute. May it carry the memory of your father for generations of park-goers.

Byddi Lee said...

My father also died in 2008,at 5.20am on the 10th April, and he died of cancer. I enjoyed reading the link " How old will I be?" It reminded me of my Dad too. i wonder if they have bumped into each other up there - would the be near each other in the queue to meet God, given they died in the same year and same time of day!

The tree is a wonderful tribute. We never forget the loved ones we had lost, but its nice to remind others that they were once here...

Anonymous said...

A beautiful thing to do. May it bloom and grow.

julestar said...

I lost my mom the day after, December 2, 2008. This is a beautiful way to remember your dad and to pay tribute to his life. Thank you so much for sharing this with us. I hope I can find a way to spread the love of my mom with so many others.