Art Gara Memorial Fund
It is with great sadness that I inform you of the passing of Art Gara, owner of Art and Linda’s Wildflowers. He was a great friend, a generous mentor, and an indefatigable advocate for the use native plants in home and institutional landscapes. Art died at home on October 27, just one week after the death of his son, Herb Gara.
To help defray the cost of cremation and a memorial we are hoping to raise the funds to cover these costs. Any excess funds raised will be donated to Wild Ones (West Cook Chapter), an organization that Art was involved with and loved dearly.
The memorial service will be held from 1:30 - 4:30 at the Oak Park Conservatory on Sunday, Nov. 5th.
Art is largely responsible for my fascination with and knowledge about native plants. In 2008 our Ecology Club received grant money to put in a native rain garden at Maine East High School. Here is a photo album of our garden, all made possible with Art's help. goo.gl/photos/WZetBYuSjwAUetNt6
While the world of wildflower gardens has lost a creative, passionate gardener and an enormous personality whom we will greatly miss, we know that Art would want us to celebrate his life, and in this spirit we invite his friends and customers to join us in remembrance of him.
Monica Buckley was a close friends of Art's and will be managing the funds raised here and the costs associated with the memorial service and cremation or burial.
Many thanks to all who have contributed to the Art Gara Memorial Fund, and for the many heartfelt comments posted to the page. Eighty-four people donated $6,301, which paid: $1,709 for the service and catering at the celebration of Art's life on November 5th at the Oak Park Conservatory; $2,551 to Heritage Funeral Home in Berwyn for Art's cremation; $500 to Heritage Funeral Home for Art's son Herbie's cremation expenses after the military's contribution; and a donation of $700 in Art's name to West Cook Wild Ones, as well as GoFundMe's 8 percent fee. Remaining funds will pay for a lunch at Tony's, in Brookfield, to follow the scattering of ashes at the place where Art and Linda spent time falling in love with each other and with the wildflowers that became the focus of Art's life: Wolf Road Prairie, in Westchester.
AThe scattering of the ashes will be held at noon on Sunday, December 17. Event details will be posted on Art's Facebook page and website.
The response to the fundraising effort for Art has been tremendous. We have surpassed our goal in a single day; if only Art could have witnessed this! We know how much Art loved and supported Wild Ones and its mission, and we know he would approve of our decision to donate funds beyond our goal to his favorite chapter, West Cook Wild Ones, for program support. Thank you, West Cook Wild Ones, for all the good work you have done, in such a short time, in advocating for the use of our wild plants! This is Art's last gift to you!
Please join us for a celebration of Art’s life this coming Sunday, November 5th, at the Oak Park Conservatory, from 1:30 PM to 4:30 PM. Blessings and readings at 2 PM. The event is casual, as Art would have wanted—an open-house style event with light food and refreshments.
If you have any pictures of Art or his garden creations you'd like to share please email them to Shelby Riha - firstname.lastname@example.org