Downtown Christmas tree memorializes Hagerstown man

November 23, 2008|By DAN DEARTH

HAGERSTOWN -- Jeanie Gossard said she and her husband, William, planted a blue spruce in the yard of their Overbrook Road home about 17 years ago.

They enjoyed the tree for many years, but after awhile, its growth began to encroach on their house.

Jeanie said William wanted to cut down the tree but relented because she wanted to keep it.

"I thought it was so pretty," Jeanie said.

Jeanie, 74, said she finally decided to let the tree go when William died last February.

They had been married for 54 years.

Jeanie said she decided to do something with the 25-foot spruce that would memorialize William, so she called the City of Hagerstown and asked about putting the tree downtown during the holidays.

"I wanted it on the square," she said. "It was in memory of my husband."

Hagerstown Parks and Recreation Director Junior Mason said the city cut down the tree and put it on the square early last week, and workers from the Hagerstown Light Department were busy Thursday putting on lights and decorations.


The city is expected to light the tree at 6 p.m. Monday during the 19th Annual Hollyfest, a celebration that kicks off the holiday season.

The festivities will begin at 5 p.m. on the square. After the tree is lit an hour later, the crowd will be invited to walk across the street to attend a holiday concert at The Maryland Theatre.

The Smithsburg High School Orchestra and Jazz Ensemble and The Potomac Youth Classical Ballet Co. are among the acts that are scheduled to perform.

Jeanie Gossard said she has been ill and might not be able to attend the tree-lighting ceremony, but she had a chance to see the spruce on the square last week with her daughter.

"I think it looks wonderful," Jeanie Gossard said.

If you go

What: Tree lighting and Hollyfest

When: Monday at 5 p.m.

Where: Hagerstown Public Square, The Maryland Theatre

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