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Memorials in Sligo Park

Memory is a man's real possession. In nothing else is he rich.
Alexander Smith

Memorials on this page are described in order upstream from Dennis Avenue.

Ida Heller

Plaque on a bench near the sculpture Whispers, corner of Dennis Avenue and Sligo Creek Parkway.

Ida and Sid Heller, who lived on Stirling Road near the Forest Glen Senior Center, strolled often in Sligo, "to people-watch," Sid says. As they wandered past Whispers and saw the benches, they made friends with the Denis Wolf family. Ida died of cancer at 88. She had donated her body to medicine, there was no grave, and Sid needed something to remember her by. He knew the right place for a bench.

"That's not the end of the story," Sid reports. "Some months after Ida's death I decided to move to Boulder, Colorado to be near my daughter and grandchildren. My friends held a farewell party for me, and so that I would not miss the bench in Sligo Creek Park too much, they made arrangements for a similar memorial bench for Ida in Boulder. It would be placed alongside Boulder Creek, near my new home. My daughter and I were to provide an inscription, and this we did. The plaque reads, "Remembered with love in Boulder, Colorado as in Silver Spring, Maryland."

The Heller bench with a tree at each end, and the Wolf benches and garden near Whispers.

Temporary Markers

Walter Penney

Roadside Marker

An impromptu roadside marker for Walter Penney lay in the east woods slightly upstream from Dallas Avenue for about a year after Walter Penney was killed. A car speeding at reportedly 60 mph crossed the median line and hit him on January 10, 2002. Penney had been a swim team and basketball coach in Takoma Park, and he managed the Forest Knolls Gators Swim Team.

Walter Penney, 48, was riding a bicycle in a designated northbound bicycle lane at the side of the parkway as a Wheaton driver sped the other way at nearly 60 mph. The car crossed the median, hit and killed Walter Penney. The driver, 25, received three years of actual jail time, a fine of $1500, and was assigned 240 hours of community service. Reportedly neither drugs nor alcohol were involved; the driver was "in a hurry."

Materials in the display changed from time to time, and the marker has now been removed entirely. A runner happened to witness the accident. His wife, Jean Cavanaugh, set up a rally for safety attended by at least 100 residents, and a petition signed by 600. As a result, speed bumps were installed on the Parkway. (They exist only above Piney Branch because the bumps cannot be seen in advance when there are numerous curves.)

The Silver Spring Garden Club Benches

The Silver Spring Garden Club placed at least three benches in Sligo above University Blvd.
They are older, contributed in c1992 or before according to a neighbor.

No Garden Club contacts could be found who remembered why the benches were contributed,
but the benches seem to say, "rest and enjoy the view."
These are the only benches in Sligo which have plaques but are not memorials.

Joe Howard's Bench - A personal bench for anyone to use

Joe Howard's bench sits in front of his house close to the street, not far from the Park.
Nearby, parents talk while waiting for the bus stop to drop off their young children.
A family member was outside once when a car stopped to carry this bench elsewhere. "It is for giveaway, isn't it?" they asked. For some time afterward Joe had a sweater lying on the bench permanently to suggest that the bench was in general use.

Few appreciate trees as much as Joe Howard, who lives in the Sligo watershed and produces the county's Register of Champion Trees. Joe asked Steven Weitzman to sculpt a tree for his entrance door. The mat says Plant a Tree.

Jogger; No Memorial Needed

A message of thanks to joggers who saved the life of Linda Krimm's husband. This sign was posted in late summer 2003 on the dirt path below Maple Avenue.

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Sally Gagne
February 2009