The family of George and Doris Costakis receive the certificate for the tree planted in honor of their parents on the Faircourt Street cul-de-sac. Pictured with the family are Grosse Pointe Woods Community Tree Commission Chairperson Paul Lechner, second from right, and Tree Commission Vice Chairperson Laura Gaskin, far right, behind the podium.

The family of George and Doris Costakis receive the certificate for the tree planted in honor of their parents on the Faircourt Street cul-de-sac. Pictured with the family are Grosse Pointe Woods Community Tree Commission Chairperson Paul Lechner, second from right, and Tree Commission Vice Chairperson Laura Gaskin, far right, behind the podium.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes


Memorial Tree Program continues in Grosse Pointe Woods

By: Maria Allard | Grosse Pointe Times | Published August 14, 2021

 The family of Robert Boesiger had a tree dedicated in his memory in Ghesquiere Park, where he spent years watching his children and grandchildren play sports. Pictured are Boesiger’s widow, Joanne; their son and daughter-in-law Bob and Laura; and grandson Christopher.

The family of Robert Boesiger had a tree dedicated in his memory in Ghesquiere Park, where he spent years watching his children and grandchildren play sports. Pictured are Boesiger’s widow, Joanne; their son and daughter-in-law Bob and Laura; and grandson Christopher.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

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GROSSE POINTE WOODS — Residents have found a way to remember their loved ones through the Grosse Pointe Woods Community Tree Commission’s Memorial Tree Program.

Trees are planted throughout the city in honor of those who have died or, in some cases, are dedicated to someone still living who has impacted the city in many ways.

On Aug. 4, the Community Tree Commission held its 38th annual dedication ceremony inside the city’s Community Center. Some families of those honored were in attendance. The trees had already been planted and included sycamores, maples and pin oaks.

“I think this is a terrific way for families to commemorate their loved ones,” Community Tree Commission Chairperson Paul Lechner said. “It’s an honor to recognize those recipients by memorializing them through the Community Tree Program.”

Each family received a certificate of recognition. Family members who felt comfortable doing so spoke on behalf of their loved ones. Tree Commission Vice Chairperson Laura Gaskin served as the evening’s emcee. The ceremony included trees planted during the 2019-20 cycle and the 2020-21 cycle.

The trees were paid for by the friends and families of their loved ones. The Grosse Pointe Woods Department of Public Works planted the trees at various spots throughout the city.

“It reminds us our loved one’s life has meaning and the person lives on in our memory,” Tree Commission member Peter Groschner said. “By planting trees, we recognize their vitality, insight and love that shaped our lives.”

A tree was planted at Lake Front Park to honor David Hull. The 2003 Grosse Pointe North High School graduate, who attended Western Michigan University, died suddenly Jan. 1, 2018, at age 32. On behalf of his family members, who were present, Gaskin said a few words in honor of Hull.

“Lake Front Park was a special place for our son David,” Gaskin said. “He was a loving son, brother and friend to many.”

George and Doris Costakis’ neighbors purchased a tree to be planted on the Fairmount Court cul-de-sac, where they were longtime residents. Family members spoke on behalf of the couple, as did neighbor Donna Weatherby, who lived next door to them for 14 years and gained many gardening tips from Doris.

“They were the best neighbors ever,” she said.

Calling him a “simple man,” Bob Boesiger spoke about his late father, Robert Boesiger, who became the director of rehabilitation services at St. John Hospital. Also present were Boesiger’s widow, Joanne; daughter-in-law Laura; and grandson Christopher.

“Born on a dining room table on a farm in Nebraska, he lost his mother from complications during childbirth. He was sent a few miles away to be raised by his grandmother, attending a one-room schoolhouse,” Boesiger said. “Around 10 years old, he was sent back to live with his father in a very dysfunctional family situation.”

The elder Boesiger excelled in high school sports, served in the U.S. Army, graduated from the University of Nebraska and earned a master’s degree from Stanford University. He raised five children and spent many days and nights watching his children and grandchildren play sports at Ghesquiere Park, which is where his tree was planted.

Trees also were planted to honor George and Marilyn Chevalier, James Tannar, Robert and Jane Brown, the Connolly Family, Jared Alan Glenn, Philip Koufos and Dr. M.C. Menaldi.

An oak tree for Bradley Briggs was planted at Ghesquiere Park. Briggs is still living and was honored for “being an outstanding member of our community for many years.”

City Council representative Michael Koester was present at the ceremony, as were Mayor Pro Tem Vicki Granger and Council member Thomas Vaughn. During the ceremony, Koester read “The Dedicatory Prayer,” written by Chester Petersen, city administrator emeritus 1961-92.

For more information on the tree program, visit the city’s website at gpwmi.us and click on the “commissions” icon on the Government heading.

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