By Cecilia Nasmith/Today’s Northumberland
A host of friends – plus some family members who travelled from as far away as Ottawa – gathered Friday morning in Grafton’s Stonafton Park to honour the late Anne Fenton with the planting of a tulip tree in her memory.
“It will be a very big tree, tall and stately just like Anne,” said Olivia Gibbs of the Grafton Green Thumbs to Anne’s family members – daughter Martha Fenton from Ottawa, daughter Deborah Atkinson from Angus, and granddaughter Gail Atkinson from Oshawa.
Fenton was a life member and service-certificate recipient of the group formerly known as the Grafton Horticultural Society. She shared her love with young and old, working on the Growing Together Committee, the Go-Go Grafton Gardeners, the Haldimand Court Community Planting Committee and the Millennium Committee, which undertook the planting of lilacs around the township.
She also received two Ontario Volunteer Service Awards, one in 2006 and one in 2012.
“Anne would be absolutely thrilled to see all of you here,” her friend Jennifer Darrell said.
“She was a very dear friend and one of my most favourite, favourite people.
“Anne just had a special glow about her. I first met her at a Barnum House Christmas dinner in 1994, when we first moved here, and I was drawn to her immediately. I just wanted to get to know this person.”
In addition to her passion for horticulture and the stewardship of the land, Darrell added, she had a wonderful creativity. A display table held one of the colourful watering cans she made,.
Her vitality never ceased to astonish all who knew her, like the year she took it upon herself to paint all the benches in Haldimand Township. She led an active life of travelling, entertaining, swimming, skating, canoeing, kayaking and renovating houses.
Her last project, undertaken when she was in her late 80s, was taking on a home in Buckhorn – where she passed peacefully on Dec. 24, 2020, at the age of 89. She is survived by daughters Deborah, Sandra and Martha as well as eight grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren.
Martha and Deborah expressed their thanks to the group.
“We really appreciate this. We really appreciate the friendship that you offered to her,” Martha said.
“We couldn’t have a memorial due to COVID, so this is it,” Deborah added.
“This is wonderful. It’s the best kind of memorial ever.”