One year ago almost to the day the Aquascape family lost one of our most beloved and well respected members. Perry Molema passed away due to injuries sustained in a car accident in his home town of Chatham, Ontario.
Wanting his legacy to live on forever and as a show of respect and gratitude, longtime friends and co-workers, Chuck Catton and Sasha Hunter, decided to try and transform Zonta Park in downtown Chatham, into a memorial garden. This was no small task…
The funding started with a $5000 donation from Landscape Ontario and quickly snowballed into almost $250,000 in total donations including labour, machinery and other such in-kind donations. Contactors, friends, family, co-workers and even people Perry had never met came from coast to coast to lend a hand. Such momentum was created that Landscape Ontario decided to raise money for a bursary in Perry’s name that will be given to future students showing a passion for water features. The work isn’t finished yet however as money is still needed for future maintenance of the park as well as the bursary itself.
After countless hours of planning, design approvals and revisions, several discussions with the city and the parks board as well as a town council meeting or two the final go ahead was given and the work began almost immediately. Through social media the volunteer workforce had assembled and was ready for action!
Over the course of ten days an ever changing army of volunteers battled chilly November weather to construct a memorial garden that covers approximately 7600 ft2 and features several large bubbling rocks the largest of which was nicknamed “The Chief” a name used adoringly by those who knew Perry best. There were laughs and there were tears but most importantly of all, there was healing.
Perry was passionate about water gardening and sustainability so the whole feature sits on a permeable paver patio capable of collecting 3000 gallons of water. The cored rocks and patio are also lit for nighttime viewing and several pavers bear the engraved names of key contributors to the project. The landscape was then finished off with several of Perry’s favorite plants including eastern redbuds, flowering cherries and zebra grass.
This project was hard not only mentally and physically but also emotionally as well. It’s amazing though the strength of the human spirit – how such adversity can bring out the best in people. “You can accomplish anything if you can visualize it” Perry used to say.
This was truly a labour of love for all involved and a testament to what Perry meant to not only this industry but to his family, friends and anyone else who was lucky enough to spend five minutes with him. If you knew Perry, you knew that he had time for everyone. Young or old, rich or poor it didn’t matter who you were or where you came from. Perry was a beautiful person and if you’re ever near the corner of King and William in Chatham, stop by and say hi. Perry would like that.
List of Contributors for Memorial Build*
*At time of writing (12/19/2013)
Anne Marie & Paul Rancourt
Catherine Neville & Nicholas Bott
Colleen & Charlie Van Kesteren
Dan & Colleen Warrener
Geri Sanson & Family
Gord Szolnyanszky and Adrienne Beck
Great Lakes Electric
Henry & Elisabeth Molema
John & Roberta Young
Jordan Ward, Iris Ng & Monty Ward
Karen & Paul Koomans
Karen, Chuck & Aidan Catton
Kerri & Joe Genovese
|Landscape Ontario Horticultural Assosciation
Landscape Ontario Windsor Chapter
Linda Ruhlig Miller
Lindsay Molema & Daniel Golas
Lois & Ross Eberlee
Mary A. Mouissie
Mary, Adrien & Chantelle Roy
Melissa Molema & Shaun Melo
Mike & Chris Harwood
Simon Van Raay
Stacey, Carson & Thatcher Warrener
Steve Van Kesteren
Sue & Dave Van Raay
Sue & Mark Williams
Suzanne & Jason Korkidakis
The Chilled Cork
The Retro Suites
Tulin Okus Seckin