Landmark tree outside St. George School in Linn transformed into a crucifix


For many years, the tree in front of St. George School in Linn has been part of the landscape, something that might have been taken for granted.

Now, however, the area has been transformed as the tree was cut down, and what remains is a crucifix carved by Joe Dudenhoeffer at the request of the St. George Home and School Association.

Abby Bradford and Kelly Frank, co-presidents of the association, took on the project after Father Colin Franklin, pastor of St. George Parish and of Our Lady Help of Christians Parish in Frankenstein, asked that something be done.

“The tree was dead and we were asked to take it down,” said Ms. Bradford. “Kelly and I got started right away. We like to get things done quickly.”

On Friday, Dec. 3, the first part of the project was handled by Matt Seifert and his crew at Three Rivers Electric Cooperative, which cut down the tree.

Several volunteers were on hand with a wood chipper to speed up the process, and wood from the tree was offered to anyone who wanted to come and collect it.

“We appreciate Matt and his crew for getting this done so fast,” said Ms. Bradford. “They got it done in one day and saved us a lot of money.”

Ms. Bradford also expressed her appreciation to everyone who worked so hard and volunteered their time doing clean-up, including Mark Loethen, Rick Hock and his brother, Kelly Frank, and Will Bradford.

On Saturday, Dec. 4, Mr. Dudenhoeffer and his wife, Alice, began carving with a chainsaw, just like they did several years ago when a tree was cut down at Linn R-2 School, where a Wildcat sculpture remains in place.

Mr. Dudenhoeffer said he was happy to do the project, adding he loves working with wood.

The project was completed on Sunday, Dec. 5.

“It’s the Easter story retold,” said Lisa Grellner, principal of St. George School. “Great beauty has come out of something that has died. Students are reminded of the sacrifice that God gave us by giving us His Son to die for us.”

This article and these photos were originally published in the Unterrified Democrat newspaper in Linn, and are republished here with permission.