ShareThis Page

Loved ones remembered with custom ornaments at Pleasant Hills cemetery

| Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2013, 9:01 p.m.
Randy Jarosz | For The South Hills Record
Marlene Vogt (left) and mother Sigrid McFetridge, both of Baldwin Borough, hang an ornament in honor of father and husband Gunther McFetridge during a Christmas celebration of passed love ones Saturday, Dec. 7, 2013 at Jefferson Memorial Cemetery in Pleasant Hills.

Even sad memories can shine.

Once again, the staff at Jefferson Memorial Cemetery in Pleasant Hills offered families the opportunity to celebrate their loved ones with a ceremonial lighting of a live Christmas tree on Dec. 7.

Those who had lost someone close were invited to design an ornament for the 8-foot tree. Then, in a twinkle, hundreds of loving thoughts were sent into the darkening sky.

“This idea was generated as a better way to serve our families,” said Charles Christopher, cemetery marketing director. “It's a way to help them through the holiday and share their memories.”

More than 250 attended the memorial the first year. With 160 reservations this year, 150 people braved Saturday's weather to attend. There were young and old — children, parents and grandparents. Family members had all they needed to decorate each ornament, such as felt-tip markers, glue and glitter.

Last year, a woman brought in her own decoration to add to the collection during the inaugural event. A car aficionado was remembered in a special way by his wife with his photo on a car-shaped ornament.

People were thankful to have a chance to remember their loved ones, said Christopher, who was pleased to have another year of good response for an event that now will be a tradition.

Decorations on the lighted tree near the on-site funeral home on Curry Hollow Road will remain until January. The handmade ornaments will be put aside for families to collect so they can put them on their own trees next year, which makes a future private Christmas from a public tribute planned, Christopher said, “to help families through the healing process.”

Dona S. Dreeland is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-388-5803 or

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.