‘Memorial Tree’ lights the way for Frankfort neighbors

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A quiet street, with a lot of history…

“I’ll be 70, and I hate to say that. I rode my bike out here when I was 15 before I had my driver’s license. It was a sleepy, little gravel road,” said John G. Conway.

55 years later, and John and Deborah Conway’s home sits on the now much busier Hanly Lane. For the Conways, neighbors have become more like family over the years. While this Christmas will be hard for many, the couple wanted to do something to spread a little more cheer.

“We had Bill Burke come out here with a bucket truck. People didn’t know what was going on. We just took all the lights we could get. We bought Home Depot out of lights, okay?”

When you see the 50-foot tree in the Conway’s yard, it’s not hard to imagine why they needed so many lights. But the tree is more than a holiday decoration.

“I think about the loved ones we’ve lost. We’ve had cards and thank you’s. Just people showing their appreciation for the gesture we showed.”

The Conways decided to create what they call the “Memorial Tree” last year. They wanted to do something in memory of neighbors and friends they’ve lost. Recent losses from COVID, cancer and other illnesses, sparking the idea to light the massive tree.

The Conways lost a dear friend to COVID just last week.

“Somebody asked if we were going to take the lights down. I was like, no they’re in there permanently. We’re going to do this year after year after year.”

The tree lighting the dark road home for so many on Hanly Lane.

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