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Letter to the Editor: The Name on a Bench

As you may have noticed throughout the county, there is an abundance of benches with a name on them. These memorial benches are placed where both residents and visitors can sit and enjoy the beauty of the peninsula. Each bench represents a loved one who has died, and a family that misses them terribly. A bench is a way to keep their memory alive.

We had a bench in memory of our son, located on the north end of the Sister Bay marina. Over the years, the bench was a gathering place for family and friends who might stop by in the morning to enjoy a cup of coffee, or have a picnic lunch at noon, or watch the sunset in the evening. Our other two children were engaged there. 

Now that opportunity has been taken from us. When we arrived this spring to our summer home, we noticed the bench was gone. It was removed without notice to us, even though the village office had our cell number. The loss of the bench created a new wave of grief for us. We are saddened and disappointed.

If you have a memorial bench somewhere on the peninsula, don’t take it for granted. It can be taken away from you. Although each community or town has its own criteria, the bench won’t last forever. And when it is gone, you, too, will feel a loss.

Next time you enjoy sitting on a bench in memory of someone, pay attention to the name. That person was someone’s child, sibling, spouse, parent, grandparent, relative or friend. Oh, yes – the name on our bench? Dustin Wilkinson, our son who died at the age of 16.

Dave and Donna Wilkinson
Sister Bay, Wisconsin