Archive for Thursday, May 26, 2005

Ceremony to mark addition of carvings to area cemetery

Chainsaw artist works magic on trees

May 26, 2005

Three trees at Holy Angels Cemetery have taken on a new life.

Last fall, Russell Ehart, a chainsaw artist, carved angels out of the stumps of trees that had died.

Holy Angels Cemetery is between Tonganoxie and Basehor, north of 179th Street and Leavenworth Road.

The taller angels, which start about 5 feet above the ground and top out at about 10 feet, are carved from Norwegian pines.

The trees were about 115 years old when they died last year, said Joyce Bowlin, secretary at Basehor's Holy Angels Catholic Church and treasurer of the Holy Angels Cemetery board.

The Holy Angels Cemetery board asked Ehart, who grew up in the Springdale area and now lives in New York, to carve the statues.

Ehart carved the taller trees into adult angels. One has hands folded in prayer, the other holds a lantern. Nearby, Ehart carved a third tree into a cherub.

The angel that holds a lantern will be dedicated Monday in memory of the late Rev. Edwin Watson, who in 1999 realized the trees were dying and suggested they be carved into statues.

Bowlin and Anna Mary Landauer, Basehor, said the cherub represents a child who died in the cemetery in the 1930s or 1940s. According to Landauer, the child, a boy, was a twin. As he and his family were visiting the cemetery, she said, a gravestone fell on him. He died from the injury, Landauer said.

Landauer said she believed the boy's last name was Desmond. She has searched area newspaper archives, but said she hasn't found any articles about the child's death.

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