Tolt Church installs memorial marker

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A two-ton rock briefly hung over the offices of Tolt

Congregational United Church of Christ in

Carnation on Tuesday, May 23, as a crane maneuvered it into place in the

church's memorial garden.

"It all started with a need to weed," said Pastor Jeff Spencer.

"Jane [Loudenback] wondered if she could clean up the courtyards in our

building and we got to chatting. I shared an idea I had for several years _ putting

a memorial marker in one of the gardens."

Spencer explained that when a family scatters the ashes of a loved

one who has died, there is no gravestone, "no place where that person's

name remains to help us remember."

Loudenback latched on to the idea and volunteered to purchase the

stone. Loudenback's parents, Grace and Harry Popkema, were cremated

and their ashes were scattered in the woods behind the family home.

"Dad loved to walk back there after he sold the dairy farm," she

said. "Now there will be a place with their names." The Popkemas were

active members of Tolt Church.

Thanks to the efforts of church members Doug Cole,

Bob Hazelbrook, Bob Patterson and several others, the stone is now

installed and ready for families to place memorial bronze plaques in

remembrance of their loved ones. The first two

placards will bear the names of Harry and Grace Popkema.

"We still don't have the policy all figured out," Spencer said. "It is

for people who are part of the church family; that much we know. But

we haven't figured out costs, sizes of plaques, how to make it available

to families with limited incomes _ you know, the details."

The stone was dedicated on Sunday, May 28.

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