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2017 Spring/Summer

In Memoriam Often overlooked, this large, carved tree serves as a creative memorial. Story by Kelly Gibson Photos by Meagan Young

The angel tree memorial in Oakwood Cemetery just off 3rd Street is the secondlargest angel tree carving by chainsaw artists Vicki and Patrick Langton. “We’ve done a lot of cemeteries, especially around Topeka, but I’ve never seen a tulip tree that large before,” Vicki says. And this tree was particularly special. Vicki spent a lot of time in Baldwin growing up. Her grandparents lived and worked in Baldwin City, and Vicki has many fond memories spending time with them in Baldwin. “I’ve always loved Baldwin,” Vicki says. “The people are so friendly. It’s never changed from when I was growing up

… the feeling, the soul of the city hasn’t changed.” Baldwin also means a lot to Shane Starkey. He served on the city council for four years and helped put the artwork wheels in motion. “We were going to literally cut this down, haul it off to city property and it would basically end up wasting away,” Starkey says. “Why not have chainsaw artists come out and do something?” Woodworking is Starkey’s hobby. He has built cedar chests and a bed for his daughter, among other bits of handiwork. For a while, Starkey and his father worked a sawmill, so Starkey says he looks at trees a little differently from most. “I think of what it could be other than just firewood,” he says. “It’s just a really nice piece of artwork in a place that people come out to visit loved ones. It’s certainly better than a stump in the ground.” According to Starkey, it was a “no-cost” project, meaning it cost the city as much to commission the artists as it would to cut the tree down to a stump. The Langtons have been chainsaw artists for 18 years, and they specialize in tree memorials. “Some of these trees, I know they mean a lot to people,” Vicki says. “Especially when they end up as a memorial.” Cemetery caretakers plan to apply another protective coating of lacquer on the tree memorial this year. “If they keep it up, that cemetery art will outlive us all,” Vicki says.

CITY

Profile for Sunflower Publishing

Baldwin City Living • Spring/Summer 2017  

In this issue: • The Baldwin City Blues rev up for another season of collegiate baseball • How to survive the Citywide Garage Sale • Get to...

Baldwin City Living • Spring/Summer 2017  

In this issue: • The Baldwin City Blues rev up for another season of collegiate baseball • How to survive the Citywide Garage Sale • Get to...