Friends dedicate live oak for former Avondale man

Friends dedicate live oak for former Avondale man
Nancy Smith looks on as her grandson Tyler Smith affixes a paper dove to a live oak planted in memory of Nancy’s brother, Harold McKeon.

Planting a tree as a living memorial does more than ensure the loved one will be honored for years to come; it also contributes to the forest canopy for the future.

And there was no better way to celebrate the life of Harold McKeon than to plant a tree in his name in Boone Park South.

Family and friends joined McKeon’s widow, Pamela Telis, on a sunny Sunday afternoon April 9 to share stories about the well-known Avondale resident and to send him their last well wishes on paper doves affixed to the branches of a live oak.

One of the many paper doves attached to branches of a live oak planted in Boone Park South in memory of Harold McKeon.

One of the many paper doves attached to branches of a live oak planted in Boone Park South in memory of Harold McKeon.

McKeon was diagnosed with ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) in December 2014 at the age of 60. After traveling the country in 2015 for five months in an RV (recreational vehicle), McKeon began to decline and was cared for at home by his wife until his death Dec. 22, 2016.

During the celebration of life, residents shared stories about McKeon’s prowess as a local handyman. Judy Klein summed it up best when she said, “The word got around, and there was a clique of old single women who all wanted Harold and it got to where he was in great demand.”

McKeon’s live oak joins three other memorial trees in the park, located across St. Johns Avenue from the home where he spent many of his last months on the porch watching children on the new playground.

“In the last few months, trees have been planted for two dogs that loved the park and recently died and, of course, hubby Harold,” said Telis. “We welcome others to consider memorial trees.”

If a memorial tree sounds like a good idea, coordinate with the Friends of Boone Park South, which has a replanting plan for the park. Memorial pavers for the St. Johns Avenue entrance at the park are also available. The cost is $90 and proceeds help maintain the park. Leave a message at the Facebook page of Friends of Boone Park South or contact Telis at [email protected]


By Kate A. Hallock
Resident Community News

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