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Trees serve as living memorial
Bald Cypress planted in Barbara Nunn McCarthys honor
Barbara Nunn McCarthy

About 25 locals gathered Friday morning to remember the late Barbara Nunn McCarthy, whose memory in Rockdale County they hope will last longer than the tree planted in her honor.

The Rockdale Master Gardeners held a tree dedication Jan. 17 at the Memorial Arboretum, located at the Georgia International Horse Park.

Besides being a Master Gardener, McCarthy was Rockdale County’s first female county commissioner, and a service agent with the Rockdale County Cooperative Extension Office.

“This is just a dedication to life, really,” Master Gardener Cesare Matrundola told the crowd at the ceremony’s start. “And the tree is probably one of the best representations to celebrate life.”

The balding cypress tree planted in McCarthy’s honor is the newest tree planted in the six acres that make up the Memorial Arboretum.

McCarthy’s husband Fox McCarthy explained the balding cypress was his wife’s favorite. Fox talked about his wife’s final memories.

“The whole time she was sick those six months, (she) never once said, ‘Oh, poor me,’” Fox said. “Never once.”

In an impromptu style, Fox opened the floor for others to speak and Barbara’s predecessor LeRoy Bigham was one who shared his recollections.

“I think her memory will live much longer than this tree,” Bigham said.

Jule-Lynne Macie was the next county extension agent following Barbara. Overcome with emotion and taking several pauses, Macie said she loved Barbara and Fox, who she called grandparents to her son.

“I can’t say I’m a mini-me of her because I’m not that good,” Macie said. “But Barbara made me who I am as a county agent and I appreciate that.”