Memorial Tree Pays Tribute To Maumee Woman’s Love Of Life

A red maple tree was planted on the morning of November 8 at the Wolcott House Museum Complex in memory of the late Barb (Hayes) Shinaver. In this photo, Maumee Department of Public Service employee Tony Rodriguez (left) operates the excavator while fellow workers Don Garrett and Brian Shook rake in the soil around the base of the new tree. MIRROR PHOTOS BY MIKE McCARTHY
Frank Shinaver (right) is joined by his sister-in-law Mary Martinez (left), shortly after the planting of the memorial tree in honor of Barb (Hayes) Shinaver on the grounds of the Wolcott House Museum Complex. Barb, who passed away last December, was Frank’s wife and Mary’s sister.

BY MIKE McCARTHY | MIRROR EDITOR — Barb (Hayes) Shinaver adored her red maple tree. It was her favorite because it seemed to emit its own radiant beauty, attracting hummingbirds into her Maumee yard throughout the spring and summer months.

Born and raised in Maumee, Barb loved her hometown, and she loved her husband Frank, whom she married on September 8, 1990. The couple resided blissfully together for three decades until Barb was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in the spring of 2020.

Often, people suffering from pancreatic cancer succumb to the disease within six months, but Barb fought on valiantly for 18 months before she passed away peacefully on December 11, 2021.

Upon her death, and according to her final wishes, Barb’s body was donated to The University of Toledo College of Medicine for the educational benefit of medical students. As a result, Barb never had a formal funeral, and she never had a gravesite for loved ones to visit.

Frank wanted to have a tangible memorial for his wife that he could visit from time to time and that would also pay a fitting tribute to her love and appreciation of nature. 

He remembered reading a story in The Mirror earlier this spring in which a Maumee woman honored the passing of her husband by purchasing an 18-foot Norway spruce from the city of Maumee, which the city then planted in his honor on the grounds of the Wolcott House Museum Complex.

Although the city of Maumee doesn’t actively promote the purchase of memorial trees for loved ones, it does accommodate individual requests whenever possible. A memorial tree may be purchased from the city for a cost typically ranging between $300 and $500, depending on the size and type of tree being sought. The city does not profit from the sale of such trees and, in fact, will plant the tree at no additional cost to the resident.

Knowing how much Barb loved her red maple tree, Frank contacted the city of Maumee and asked if he could purchase such a tree to be planted in her honor. On the morning of November 8, that intention came to fruition as three Maumee service department employees planted Barb’s memorial tree on the grounds of the Wolcott House.

Joining Frank at the tree planting was Barb’s sister, Mary Martinez. Also on hand was Lorrie Parry, Maumee municipal clerk and administrative assistant, who attended as a representative of the city.

Frank explained that his wife’s contagious love of her hometown often inspired him, and as a result, he gradually found himself becoming more involved in the community. He stated that he was thankful the city of Maumee could grant his request to honor his wife.

“I love this city,” he said, as he prepared to head home, comforted in the knowledge that he could always come back whenever he wished to visit the tree that made his wife so happy.

Perhaps, next spring, some hummingbirds will also be there to greet him.

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