The Deary Memorial Recognition Garden, created in 2007 to memorialize, honor and recognize cancer survivors and loved ones lost to cancer, was rededicated on May 18 at its new location on the grounds of Day Kimball Healthcare’s Schneider Center, located across from Day Kimball Hospital at 309 Pomfret Street. The garden had previously been located on the grounds of the former J.D. Cooper’s Restaurant on Park Road in Putnam.
The garden was originally created by members of the Deary family in 2007, at the start and end point of the former Deary Memorial Walk and Run, which was at J.D. Cooper’s Restaurant. The Walk and Run raised funds for the Day Kimball Healthcare Deary Memorial Cancer Fund. The Deary family turned that fund fully over to Day Kimball Healthcare in 2015 and it was renamed the Northeast Connecticut Cancer Fund of DKH. The walk and run continued but was renamed as well, to the Walk and Run for the Northeast Connecticut Cancer Fund.
“Amid all this change, as well as the closing of the former J.D. Cooper’s Restaurant and the tenth anniversary of the Memorial Garden’s inception, it seemed a good time to move and revive it,” said DKH Director of Development Kristen Willis. “The new location at the Schneider Center offers a more private and tranquil setting for friends and family of our Deary Walk and Run Ambassadors and others touched by cancer to come and reflect, remember and honor their loved ones.”
Deary Walk and Run organizers chose a “Deary Ambassador,” someone currently fighting cancer or who survived cancer, at each year’s event. Those Ambassadors who passed away are now recognized with dedication plaques in the garden. A plaque recognizing all of the ambassadors is also displayed.
Dozens of people turned out for the re-dedication, during which they shared memories and thoughts about their loved ones and laid flowers at the base of the commemorative plaques. Peter Deary and Ann Tetreault, siblings of Cathy Deary, shared some thoughts and read a poem in honor of their sister and in recognition of what the garden represents.
Laurie Sevigny, daughter of past ambassador Claire St. Jean, spoke about how honored her mother was to be chosen as an ambassador. She stated how meaningful it is to have a lovely place to sit and reflect on her mother’s memory. Pauline Tetreault sang hymns and Reverend Jonathan Scott, director of Pastoral Care at Day Kimball, led the group in prayer and offered a message of love and remembrance that those acknowledged by the garden are never forgotten.
“We are so pleased to be able to have this wonderful memorial here at the Schneider Center and in close proximity to the hospital – both of which are symbolic of not only the long-standing relationship that has been nurtured with the Deary family, but the philanthropic spirit of everyone involved with the Northeast Connecticut Cancer Fund of DKH,” Willis said.