You couldn’t describe Tom Duvendack as anything other than an outdoorsman. Being a park ranger for many years, as well as a founding member of the Northwestern Ohio Rails to Trails, Tom was most at home when he was out in nature. His passing took a difficult toll on his family, but none more so than his wife. From the very first time she came in to meet with me, she said she didn’t want something traditional, or cookie cutter. She wanted something special, and something unique. More than that, she wanted the stone to not only be for her husband but their entire family. She wanted it to have a tree, a bench, and some way of representing the area they lived in the black swamp.
After months of meetings and revisions, we sat down to what we thought might be our last meeting. As I showed her what would be the final proof, I could see her eyes light up. “It’s perfect” was all she said and was all she needed to say.
On the main tablet, you can see an intricately carved tree. Nestled in its branches, is their family name in polished letters. Beneath this family tree, you can see Tom and his wife’s names, as well as their children and their spouses. Alongside the monument is a bench seat with rock pitching along its edges, following with their wishes of a natural look. And around the base of the memorial and leg of the bench, are various rocks collected over many years from outdoor treks and family travels. With time, effort, and a bit of patience, we were able to help Mrs. Duvendack get exactly what she was looking for. A one-of-a-kind memorial paying tribute not only to her husband but their whole family.
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