Donated Red Bud tree to memorialize loved one

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Shriver: Living memorial means the world to family

When Brenda Shriver's daughter died in 2012, there was no memorial service, but Shriver is determined to not let her daughter's memory fade.

Hoping to memorialize her daughter, Shriver called the city of Cassville and asked about donating a tree for the city park, and that memorial became a reality recently when the city accepted the Red Bud donation and the tree was planted.

"The Red Bud is really colorful and my daughter loved trees, birds, clouds and nature, and that tree will be a living memory of her," Shriver said. "It's wonderful the city has allowed me to do this and have this remembrance of her."

Steve Walensky, Cassville public works director, said he pushed for the memorial tree to be planted because it means a lot to him to do such things for the community in which he works.

"It was really touching for me," he said. "I had done something similar with a bench before, and Brenda wanted something similar, and I told her planting a tree would be a little more affordable.

"When you get to do something like this, it's not only good for the city, but it really makes them feel good, too."

The tree is in memory of Sharilyn Keiser, who died in September 2012 after a seizure that led to a lung infection could not be reversed.

"She was so creative and imaginative," Shriver said. "She once made me a Mother's Day card with pictures of all my kids that said, 'Happy Mother-how-could-you-do-it Day.'"

Shriver said when her daughter was young, she nicknamed herself "Shadow" because the two spent so much time together.

"There was one time we were in the mall, and we went by the candy counter and she really wanted some candy," Shriver said. "I told her she'd have to eat her lunch first, and like most kids, she took two bites and said she was done. When we went back by the candy counter, she asked again, and I told her she couldn't have any because she didn't eat her lunch.

"We kept walking and when we were in the middle of the mall, she screamed, 'Please, mommy, can I have some lunch,' and everybody was staring at me and told me I better feed that child."

While Keiser has passed, Shriver still has a piece of her daughter with her, as she adopted her 19-year-old grandson, Bradley Shriver.

"He hasn't had much luck getting a job since he graduated, so it's the two of us against the world," she said. "I'm just delighted that he's here with me."

Shriver said the tree is a big help for her and Bradley, and she wants to go a step further and buy a plaque to memorialize Keiser in writing, but funds are tight. Living on Social Security and experiencing some recent car trouble, Shriver said she does not have the money for the plaque right now, but she is determined to get it eventually.

"It will be done," she said.

Walensky said the city would establish and maintain the tree and the plaque, but it would be up to the city council to provide any monetary help in buying a plaque.

"It is wonderful the city has allowed me to do this, and Steve has been so great," Shriver said. "The fact that they will let me have this living memorial means the world to me and Bradley,"

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