By Cathy Stuehmeier
Twenty-five years ago, Mike and Judy Sutherland of Sutherland Garnier Funeral Home and Crematory, Hillcrest Memorial Cemetery, and Sutherland Rankin Funeral Home started the tradition of giving a special gift to grieving families who had lost loved ones throughout the year. The Sutherland family began presenting to the families very special ornaments filled with dried flowers from their loved one’s funeral, a beautiful and meaningful gift that can hang on their Christmas tree each year in memory of their loved one.
Each year Judy Sutherland heads up the ornament ceremony, and the day after the ceremony is held she starts planning the next year’s ornaments ceremony. Mike and Judy also give a lot of credit to their team for helping throughout the year. Judy said, “We still hear from the families that have their ornaments.”
This year’s special keepsakes ceremony was held at 6:00 p.m. on Saturday, November 4 in the St. Mary’s School gymnasium, where 900 ornaments were given to the families. The ornaments were hung from a large tree. Then, each ornament was given to a family member when their loved one’s name was called. Then a moment of silence in honor of the loved one followed.
Judy said, “Over the years, we have made thousands of ornaments.” Those wanting to learn more about the ornaments ceremony can contact the funeral home.