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Those attending the Gonzales Garden Club’s Arbor Day program on Jan. 19 include, front from left, Priscilla Monson, Jamie Trisler, Loretta Speligene, Marilyn Rice, Jean Burstall-Moran and Mona Bickman; and back, Gail Lonibos, Lorraine Gautreau, Loretta Ramirez, Conchita Richey, Gonzales Mayor Barney Arceneaux, Janice Dick, Eddie Bowman, Gonzales Councilman Neil Bourque, Pastor Steve Berger, Terry Richey, Reba Wheeler, Dale Bowman, Ellen Richmond and Ross Mohler.


The Gonzales Garden Club honored the memory of Ruby Nell Smith during its annual Arbor Day ceremony on Jan. 19 at First United Methodist Church.

Smith was a member of the church and a charter member of the garden club.

Club President Jamie Trisler opened the program with a welcome, followed with an invocation by the Rev. Steve Berger who also shared the congregation’s appreciation for a tree in Smith’s honor. Loretta Ramirez, chairman of the Arbor Day event, announced that a Savannah holly has been ordered in memory of Smith and will be planted at the church after arrival.

Several club members took time to share their memories of Smith.

"Miss Ruby Nell was a wonderful garden club friend and fellow church sister. Curt and I always called her the Energizer Bunny — she just kept going. We all loved her dearly, and she is missed," Marilyn Rice said.

“Ruby Nell was a good worker in the garden club and organized committees all through the years,” longtime friend Lorraine Gautreau said. “In her later years, she would sit with people who were sick all through the night to offer them comfort and to relieve family members. She didn’t want people to go through illness alone. She did that with me for my brother and for my mother, and I’ll never forget her for that.”

Gonzales Mayor Barney Arceneaux, also in attendance, said he enjoys the yearly ceremony.

Live Oak Society Chairman Gail Lonibos spoke during the ceremony about efforts to advance the culture, preservation and appreciation of the southern live oak.

A poem titled “An Old Oak Reminisces,” written by the late Willie Mae Montgomery, was read by Ramirez. The poem personifies an oak tree’s life from acorn to grand old oak. Montgomery was a member of the club’s Circle of Roses.

Trisler closed the ceremony with thanks to the pastor, mayor, councilmen, congregation members and garden club members for attending.