5 Families’ Special Donations to Montgomery Arboretum

Posted on October 12, 2018


Five different families and individuals donated a total of 12 trees and 4 benches to Montgomery’s Arboretum of Native Flora and Montgomery Veterans Park this past year in memory of loved ones and in honor of special people in their lives.

Ed and Jaci Trzaska donated nine oak trees and two benches to expand “Maddi’s Grove” in Montgomery Veterans Park, where they had previously donated four trees.

In Maddi’s Grove in Montgomery Veterans Park on one of the benches donated by Ed and Jaci Trzaska. (L to R): Katy Qian, Ed Trzaska, Betty Rieur, Larry Koplik, and Sarah Roberts. (Click on photo for more info on donating.)

“Montgomery Veterans Park is very special to us.  We spent many hours of our first summer with our daughter watching her toddle through the trees near the upper softball field and Veterans Memorial.  We decided to donate trees and benches to this section of the park in honor of those formative days for our family.  We hope that this future thriving grove of oak trees will be enjoyed by the community for many years to come.”

Betty Rieur donated a bench in the Arboretum in memory of her husband, N J Rieur. The bench is a companion to another bench and a sugar maple she had previously donated in his memory.

“The reason for my donations to the Montgomery Arboretum is that my husband was a nature lover, which he shared through his travels with the family and in the classroom. During his time teaching students, he introduced the Environmental Education Program at Stokes State Forest, taking his students each year for two weeks of outdoor education. Jack had a heart as big as all outdoors, so what better fitting memorial than one that is outdoors?”

Betty also previously donated a spruce tree in memory of her son, Bruce Van Allen, an avid outdoorsman. “What better memorial for him than to preserve and honor nature?”

The Qian family donated a sweetgum tree and a memorial bench in memory of their youngest member, Lisa Qian. The family lived in Kings Crossing and would frequently visit the nearby Arboretum and Veterans Park for brisk walks and bike rides. According to her sister, Katy, “Lisa was the adventurous and outdoorsy one. She was often found swinging carefree on the playground, scavenging wildflowers for the home or taking photos of any wildlife found in the park.” The plaque on Lisa’s memorial bench reads, “Her love for life inspires us all.”

Sarah Roberts donated a white oak in memory of her mother, Barbara B. Roberts. The story behind the choice of that particular tree goes back to Sarah’s previous donation to the Arboretum, a persimmon tree in memory of her father, Warren E. Roberts. When Sarah’s mother heard about the donation for Warren, she intended to follow suit and also donate a tree in his memory. She planned for it to be a white oak, but never got around to getting it planted. Sarah thought her mother would have been pleased that she chose a white oak in her memory.

“My parents loved trees. They had fifty trees in their half-acre yard in Indiana.”

Larry Koplik donated a bur oak in memory of his father, Myron J. Koplik.

“I chose this type of oak so it would be near the scarlet oak I previously donated in memory of my mother, Shirley W. Koplik. But to be totally honest, I picked the bur oak in recognition of my father’s prickly “bur-ish” personality!”

Memorial trees can be planted in the Arboretum or the Veterans Park in memory of or to honor family members, celebrate anniversaries and other special occasions, or to recognize an achievement by an individual or an organization.

A donation of $300 to the Arboretum makes it possible to plant a memorial tree, with a plaque bearing the botanical name of the tree and the name of the person in whose memory the tree is planted. Larger gifts enable the Township to place a bench with a memorial inscription.

For more information, see the Shade Tree Committee’s page on the Township’s website or leave a message at the Municipal Building for Larry Koplik, Chair of Montgomery’s Shade Tree Committee.