The dead trees next to Jeannie Bird Baking Co. in downtown Westminster were first noticed by Steve Allgeier, the chairman of the Westminster Tree Commission, last fall.
He chatted with baker Jeannie Vogel, an old high school classmate, about replacing the trees. She loved the idea.
But just a few months later, on Feb. 19, Vogel was killed in a car crash.
“It was just this huge convergence,” Allgeier said.
Vogel is gone, but her memory will live on in the form of two gingko trees that the Tree Commission planted Friday at the city’s Arbor Day celebration, right next to the bakery on Main Street.
“The community thought it would be a good idea to honor Miss Jeannie Vogel,” said Andrew Gray, a comprehensive planner for the city of Westminster.
Gingkos, known for their fan-shaped leaves that turn bright yellow in the fall, do well in urban environments, Allgeier said. They can also grow to impressive heights.
Vogel’s death was tragic, but honoring her with a new living thing seems appropriate, Allgeier said. He said residents been supportive.
“People love trees, period,” he said. “And they kind of saw the beauty of it.”
Though he knew her for years, Allgeier said he didn’t get to know Vogel well until she opened her business.
“She was just a gregarious, welcoming person,” he said. “She was always smiling, and it wasn’t a fake smile. She liked people. You could tell she was passionate about what she did.”