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TREE OF LOVE: Families honor loved ones at the Colley Senior Complex

Two families honored loved ones during the Tree of Love ceremony on Tuesday at the Colley Senior Complex in Troy. The Porterfield and Head families honored the late Etha Head, who started the quilting program at the complex. Family and friends also surprised Sally Finn by honoring her with a leaf on the tree and giving her a rose. Pictured above, from left to right, are Tawanda Fayson, Dorsey Fayson, Glenda Fayson, Sally Finn, Sheila Jackson, Sue Porterfield, Becky Head Robinette, Judy Head Baxter, and Colley Complex director Catherine Jordan.

Two families honored loved ones during the Tree of Love ceremony on Tuesday at the Colley Senior Complex in Troy. The Porterfield and Head families honored the late Etha Head, who started the quilting program at the complex. Family and friends also surprised Sally Finn by honoring her with a leaf on the tree and giving her a rose. Pictured above, from left to right, are Tawanda Fayson, Dorsey Fayson, Glenda Fayson, Sallie Finn, Sheila Jackson, Sue Porterfield, Becky Head Robinette, Judy Head Baxter, and Colley Complex director Catherine Jordan.

Two leaves were added to the Colley Senior Complex Tree of Love on Tuesday during a dedication ceremony at the Colley Senior Complex. One leaf was added as a memorial to Etha Tillery Head and the other in honor of Sallie Fenn.

Cathrine Jordan, complex director, said the Tree of Love is a way for family members and friends to honor and memorialize loved ones who have made contributions to the Colley Senior Complex.

“Adding a leaf to the Tree of Love is a way to keep memories of a loved one alive,” Jordan said. “The light on the Tree of Love is never turned off so the presence and contributions of those so honored will not be forgotten. Etha Head and Sallie Fenn and their contributions and dedication to the Colley Senior Complex will always be remembered.”

The memorial leaf honoring Head was given by the Michael Porterfield family and will be presented to her daughter, Becky Head.

“Etha was instrumental in starting quilting at the center,” Jordan said. “Quilting is a part of our heritage and she wanted to offer a place for people to come and quilt and enjoy the fellowship of a ‘quilting bee.’”

Jordan said quilting at the center was originally done only on Mondays but soon the quilters were coming on Wednesdays, and before long, quilters were coming on Fridays as well.

“The quilters used old patterns and designs and created many of their own,” Jordan said. “At first, they quilted for themselves but soon people were bringing in quilt tops for them to quilt, which they did for a very small donation.”

Jordan said the quilting was done by hand, one stitch at a time.

“The stitching on the top was the same on the bottom of the quilt,” she said. “Those quilts are treasures. Etha will long be remembered for the contributions she made to the complex and all she did to preserve the art of quilting.”

Fenn was honored as a dedicated participant and valued volunteer at the complex.

“Sallie is originally from Clayton but she moved away,” Jordan said. “When she moved back to Alabama from Washington D.C. about nine years ago, we were fortunate that she moved to Troy. Sallie is a talented artists and gardener. She has advanced computer knowledge and is a very informed historian. She willingly shares her talents and knowledge with us and we are blessed to have her as a volunteer.”

Jordan said Fenn has the distinction of being the most senior volunteer at the complex.

“But you would never know it,” Jordan said. “When Jo Rape has not been here to lead the low impact exercise class, Sallie steps right in. She helps any time and anywhere she is needed.

“ She participates in our programs; she goes on our trips. She supports the Colley Senior Complex in so many different ways She is a friend; she is a participant; she is a volunteer.  We could not do without her. We are honored to honor her.”

The leaf on the Tree of Love was donated in Fenn’s honor by Friends of the Colley Senior Complex.

“All of the leaves on the Tree of Love have been dedicated with love,” Jordan said. “The love that is displayed will continue to be shown in a visible way for years to come. These people will not be forgotten nor will their contributions to the Colley Senior Complex and to the community.”

Leaves on the Tree of Love may be dedicated to loved ones by contacting the complex at 334-808-8500.