In Loving Memory

<p>John Wooderson</p>

John Wooderson

John Wooderson looks over a bald spot of land on his property, the dirt pile hasn't seen sunlight for well over two decades.

It was shaded by a tree, now a stump, once owned by his late wife.

"She always called the tree Clyde," said Wooderson, "To this day it's still Clyde."

Just over a year ago, Wooderson lost his wife Sandy to lung cancer.

The two had been together since they were teenagers, married for over 35 years.

25 years ago, Sandy planted a Blue Spruce in front of their yard, and for the remainder of her life, she treated it as if it were her own child.

"It was about a foot tall when she planted it," said Wooderson, "She took care of it, and for a while it was 'my tree, my tree.'"

Before she became ill, their yard was full of flowers, bushes, trees.

"That was her life," said Wooderson, "Besides from raising her family, that's what she did, she loved her yard, she loved her flowers and plants."

Clyde was one of the last standing monuments to his wife, however, it had grown too large for his property over the years.

Instead of chopping it down and using it for firewood, he decided to donate it to the City of Yakima as this year's downtown Christmas tree at Millennium Plaza .

For everyone attending the official lighting this Sunday, it's a chance to marvel at  the 30-foot tree; the lighting, the decorations.

But for John Wooderson, it's another step in moving on.

"It's bittersweet to see it go, but I think when it's the grand finale of it being lit, who knows, I'll probably shed a tear, because it's going to be an emotional thing," said Wooderson.

Wooderson says he donated the tree to the City of Yakima through his motorcycle riding club, the Crazy Horse.

The tree will be lit on Sunday following the Lighted Christmas Parade -- that begins at 5:30.