Planting a memory

May 4—Ironton in Bloom puts in Maple in memory of Massie

On Friday morning, Ironton in Bloom met with the family of Mark Massie to plant a maple tree on the front lawn of Ironton High School.

The tree planting was part of Ironton in Bloom's celebration of Arbor Day.

Massie passed away on Jan. 22 and was a member of Ironton in Bloom. He was also a member of Lawrence County Historical Society and the Rotary Club

The planting opened with a prayer and remembrances from Massie's pastor, David Lambert, who is an assistant pastor at the First Baptist Church in Ironton.

He said that he was thinking of two things, one being that certain places have certain values and that Christians are to build an altar.

"Every time there is something special in your life, build an altar and we are doing that here with a tree," Lambert said. "And a tree is a great way of having an altar where we commemorate something. A tree that is healthy, deeply rooted and it handles all the storms in life. And that was Mark. Mark was deeply, deeply rooted."

Lambert said that Massie loved going deeper and deeper during Bible studies.

Lambert said he wouldn't be able to drive down Seventh Street without looking over and seeing the maple tree planted in Massie's honor.

"Think of how many years, how many generations this tree can be here," Lambert said. "I know for at least one generation, they will point to it and say 'Mark' and then explain Mark, a kind, gentle, an incredibly intelligent man."

He said that main thing was that Massie loved people.

That sentiment was echoed by his brother, Matt Massie, his younger brother.

"Mark was a very religious person and loved the Lord, so we are sorry to see him gone, but we feel like he is in a good place," he said.

He said the family felt blessed by Ironton in Bloom putting the tree in front of Ironton High School.

"Mark was very close to the sports program," he said, adding that his brother collected any kind of sports memorabilia associated with Ironton Tigers and the Ironton Tanks and put some of his collection at the Lawrence County Museum where he volunteered. "Girls or boys teams, it didn't matter, the sport, he didn't care. It was more about Ironton. So, when they told me that they were going to put the tree here, it was a real honor."

Every Arbor Day, Ironton in Bloom plants trees in various locations around the city that have been donated by friends and family in honor of their loved ones.

This year, the newly planted trees are in remembrance of Massie, Maple tree; Leslie Hazelbaker, Dawn Redwood tree; Marlene Koenig, Crepe Myrtle tree; Merrill Sanders, White Dogwood tree; Craig Allen, Pink Dogwood tree and Phyllis Walton, Pink Dogwood tree

You can contact Ironton in Bloom at or through its. Facebook page.