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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 ddreeland@tribweb.com.

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