Tree honors Dave Quinlan’s memory

Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 3, 2001

It was Mower County’s Master Gardeners’ turn to remember one of their own Tuesday.

Thursday, May 03, 2001

It was Mower County’s Master Gardeners’ turn to remember one of their own Tuesday.

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Dave Quinlan was a Master Gardener. Quinlan, the popular Mower County Extension Service educator, died in November at the age of 52. One of his duties as a University of Minnesota Extension Service educator was to coordinate the county’s Master Gardener program.

On Tuesday, the county’s Master Gardeners assembled on the west lawn of the Mower County Government Center in downtown Austin to plant a tree in memory of Quinlan.

The tree, a Japanese lilac, was planted near the Mower County Veterans Memorial.

"It was very nice to have a man, who was a Master Gardener himself, help us," said Susan Wageman, one of the Master Gardeners. "He was very accessible and helpful and easy to work with, because he was always so pleasant."

Janice Frederickson, another Master Gardener and celebrating her 20th year certified as such, said Quinlan was "always willing to help and with his horticultural background he was very helpful."

According to Margaret Kirchner, the Japanese tree lilac will grow to a height of 15 to 20 feet and a 15-foot spread and produce creamy white flowers in late June and early July each year when mature. The tree came from Trom’s Nursery.

"In a small county such as our," Kirchner said, "Dave had to wear many hats, but usually found time to attend our meetings and was very helpful."

Ann Walter, a Mower County Extension Service educator, worked with Quinlan for the eight years he spent as an educator.

Walter described Quinlan as "very supportive" to others and an individual who "had the bigger picture" and asked "What could be?" when studying issues and who "always found something good to say and never said a bad thing about anyone."

Annette Quinlan, wife of the deceased Extension Service educator, was present and expressed the family’s appreciation for the gesture. Last Friday, Spruce Up Austin Inc. held a similar tree-planting on Arbor Day for Quinlan.

Attesting to Quinlan’s untimely death, Walter observed, "Maybe it is true that only the good die young."

Also participating in the tree-planting project were Lowell Franzen and Dan Vermilyea of the Mower County Agricultural Services, who worked often with Quinlan, including writing and revising the county’s feedlot regulations.

In addition, Lonny Otterson, who fills the vacancy on the Extension Service staff created by Quinlan’s death, joined others in the remembrance.

Carmen Thompson, who coordinates the Master Gardener program for the Mower County Extension Service, helped organize the ceremony and tree-planting.

The Mower County Horticultural Society, which includes several of the county’s Master Gardeners, held a work day on the west lawn of the Government Center also on Tuesday.

The list of certified Master Gardeners includes Ila Johnson, Pam Schmit, Betty Warn, Susan Wageman, Janice Frederickson, Ken Kirchner, Margaret Kirchner, John Beckel, Harley Nelson, Russell Harding, Paul Boisjolie, Deb Schammel and Don Merten.

For more information about the Master Gardener certification, call Thompson at 437-9552.

Call Lee Bonorden at 434-2232 or e-mail him at