Hamilton’s Living Tribute Program – History
The Living Tribute Project has been a partnership between Hamilton’s Funeral Home and the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden since 1986 when the project, conceived by Carlton Peterson, President of Hamilton’s and Matt Rosen, then director of the Botanical Center (as it was known then), was brought to life. The goal of this project was for Hamilton’s to give back to the entire community in a tangible way and also in a way that would honor the families that Hamilton’s has served.
This partnership operated from 1986 and up until 2013 when the Botanical Center changed ownership to become a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and began a multi-million dollar renovation both inside and outside. Previously, Hamilton’s donations were utilized for plantings in an outdoor acreage designated as the “Oak Hickory Forest” in honor of those who had died and the families we had served. In addition, there was a large boulder on-site with an engraved bronze plaque that designated the area. This engraved plaque is still on display at the Botanical Garden at the entrance to the North Gallery.
Through the ongoing partnership that has been in place since 2013, Hamilton’s continues to make semi-annual donations to the Botanical Garden to support the gardens and educational programming. At this current date, Hamilton’s contributions also assist with the plantings in the beautiful and ever-changing Show Beds located near the front entrance of the dome.
Every year, a Living Tribute Dedication Ceremony is held at the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden on Arbor Day. The families who Hamilton’s has served the previous 12 months receive a personal invitation to this annual event. The purpose of the ceremony is to dedicate the plantings within the Botanical Garden Show Beds in memory of those who have died and whose families Hamilton’s has served.
At each of our Hamilton’s Funeral Homes, we display beautiful Living Tribute Books which list all of the names of those persons remembered over these many years. In the past, a beautiful memorial display was housed in the educational wing of the Botanical Garden displaying the last five years of names of those who have died whom Hamilton’s has served.
Upon completion of the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden renovation in 2014, it was Botanical Garden CEO Stephanie Jutila’s intent to display all of the names since the commencement of this program. Hamilton’s went to work transcribing all of the names since 1985 – many of which were not computerized, and so needed to be hand-typed! The goal was to create several volumes of beautiful keepsake albums to keep on display at the Garden for families to look through in order to locate their loved one’s name.
Upcoming Tribute Date
By Invitation Only
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