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San Diego grandmother saves sixty-year-old neighborhood family tree

Marie Ostwald saves her neighborhood family tree.
Photo credit:
Anthony Wagner - Facebook

Marie Ostwald, 91, had a special request for Mayor Faulconer about something she feels is a part of her family, and the mayor heard her.  

Ostwald, originally from Steven’s Point, Wisconsin, pleaded to the mayor on her Facebook page on Mother’s Day to spare a nearly 60-year-old Brazilian Pepperwood tree she and her late husband planted in 1957.

The tree was scheduled to be removed by the city because its roots were coming through the ground and cracking the concrete. Officials cut through the roots to repave the sidewalk, but said it was no longer anchored properly and they would have to remove it entirely.  

“I was already a young mother when my husband and I planted this tree in 1957.” She writes. “As a mother, I nursed it and I helped it to grow from a seedling to sprout."

Ostwald said the tree grew up alongside her family and was a perfect place to shade the neighborhood children playing beneath it.

“Today, she’s a San Diego landmark at the corner of Greenbrier and Mission Gorge,” she posted. “She’s a beautiful majestic living thing that has grown old alongside me.” 

She lost her husband in 2005, and all that she hopes is that the tree remains a part of the landscape for as long as she is living.

Ostwald said on Sunday that she would sit underneath the tree in an act of protest on today, pleading with city officials not to touch it. She also asked mothers in the neighborhood to join her.

Mayor Faulconer apparently heard her pleas and in an updated Facebook post, Ostwald wrote that the city is pausing its plans, perhaps indefinitely until they can get an arborists opinion on how to keep it standing safely.

SDGLN confirmed with the mayor's office that he made a special visit to Mrs. Ostwald's today, saying, "We heard you Mrs. Ostwald. Happy Mother's Day."

Ostwald’s Facebook page was filled with support for her cause. One photo even showed that neighborhood mothers brought their babies to sit with Ostwald while she awaited the tree’s fate.

Her son-in-law, Mark Purdy posted, “You've heard of "Betty White", my Mother-in-law she's "Betty Red.”