Family roots to century-old tree

Local News

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — The century-old tree taken down for an incoming restaurant has lifetime memories for family.

Construction has taken over the corner of Race and University in Urbana. The plot is in the area where the Schroeder family lived. 

There was an oak tree that had been around before World War ll. 

Andy schroder’s first memory of it dates back to when he was nearly five years old. 

“That tree was just fun tree and I just wanted to climb it so bad. Never did but always wanted to climb it,” says Andy Schroeder. 

His mother, Betty J. Schroeder lived in the area most of her lfe. She worked at Carle for more than 30 years and would walk to work as much as she could.

“She really loved trees. She really loved nature and she gave that love to all of us,” states Schroeder.

Those memories and love for the tree grew, as the years went on.

“There was a squirrel who loved to throw acorns at us.We gave him a name, Calvin because of Calvin and Hobbes and he ended up hitting me in the head about 10 or 12 times over 6 or 7 years when we would go to her house for dinner.” 

His mother died in 2008. Over time his family and others fought to save the tree; but, when the family learned Culver’s had bought the property, they knew the tree would have to come down.    

“It’s sad because that tree was a testament to my mother. It was just something my mother loved because she loved trees.”

The oak tree may be gone, but the Schroeder’s planted others and mounted a plaque with her name on it in her memory at Crystal Lake Park.

“Everybody wants to see trees. Everybody wants to see landscaping, they want to see flowers and I think that those things are important. They brighten all of our lives,” states Schroeder.. 

The Schroeder’s have reached out to the Culver’s owner. 

They hope to learn where the tree was taken so they can use part of it to create memorbilia in their mother’s honor.

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