By Maria Braganini
The Mason Times
Countless hours spent maintaining city parks and caring for the trees at Maple Grove Cemetery has earned Dennis O’Brien honoree status at The Mason Tree Commission.
O’Brien began his career as a laborer for the Department of Public Works in May 1978. In August 2005, more than 30 years later, he retired as an arborist and superintendent of cemetery, parks and forestry.
The planting of a sugar maple tree in honor of O’Brien is scheduled for noon on Arbor Day, Friday April 24 at the Maple Grove Cemetery in Mason and open to the public.
O’Brien’s love for forestry and contributions to the city of Mason were more than just a day job, his wife Patricia O’Brien said.
“I think that he’s given a lot to the city when he worked for the cemetery parks and the cemetery,” she said. “He gave everything he could to Mason, he loved Mason and he took a lot of pride in everything he did.”
Retired due to illness, O’Brien has spent the past four years in dialysis.
“The strength and grace that he has gone through is just a testament to him and I’m just very proud of him as is our whole family,” Patricia O’Brien said.
Dennis O’Brien spread his love for forestry outside of his career by planting a tree in the yard of his family home for each of his three children.
Within the first year with the Department of Public Works, Dennis O’Brien was responsible for Memorial Day tree maintenance, a job that took all day and night. For Dennis O’Brien’s family to see him, his wife and first-born son packed a picnic dinner and joined Dennis O’Brien at the cemetery during his break.
Since 1991, the city of Mason has observed Arbor Day during the third week of April. Traditionally, the city plants a tree in honor of a Mason citizen that has made contributions to the enhancement of ecology in Mason.
The Mason Tree Commission has also sponsored the Mason’s Sesquicentennial Legacy Tree Program, dedicated to planting 150 trees in public areas of the city to commemorate the 150-year anniversary of Mason.
“It’s a great honor,” Dennis O’Brien said after assisting in many of the honoree ceremonies as Laborer for the Department of Public Works and Superintendent of Cemetery.
“It’s quite a thing to be honored like that,” he said.