In Loving Memory
Sharon Lynn Beinlich

March 6, 1963 - October 2, 2016

Sharon's Memorial Tree

Sharon's Memorial Tree
Photo taken November, 2016

What kind of tree is it?

Sharon's Memorial Tree is an Autumn Gold Ginkgo.  Most of her ashes have been placed beneath its roots, where we hope they will nourish it.

The Ginkgo tree is a living fossil, prized for its beauty and strength.  It is a spiritual tree by remaining unchanged for 200 million years.  The fact that it co-existed with the dinosaurs places the human race and our own existence into a broader context, connecting us with the infinite.

Autumn Gold Ginkgo Tree Ginkgos were thought to be first cultivated by humans in China about 1000 years ago.  They then made their way to Korea and Japan in the 14th or 15th centuries along coastal trade routes.  Scientists thought that they had become extinct until Engelbert Kaempfer rediscovered the Gingko in Japan in 1691.  Gingkos had also survived in China around monasteries and temple gardens, cultivated by Buddhist monks.  Kaempfer brought seeds to Europe from Japan in the early 1700s.  The seeds made their way to America later that century.  Presently, Gingko trees are grown ornamentally in many countries across the world.

Ginkgos are tough trees.  Their resistance to pests, and tolerance to pollution and poor soil conditions, makes them a wonderful urban and shade tree.  One extreme example of Ginkgo's tenacity is seen in Hiroshima, Japan.  Six Ginkgo trees were growing between 1-2 km of the 1945 atom bombing.  The heat emitted in the first three seconds of the explosion 3 km from ground zero was about 40 times greater than the sun.  Almost all living things were killed but the Gingkos and a number of other plants named Hibakujumoku (A-bombed tree) recovered to a healthy state soon after being charred.  They remain alive and healthy today.

A tree that has survived over hundreds of millions of years, through a myriad of events and ecosystems, puts our individual presence on Earth into perspective.  It is easy to get caught up in the immediacy of our existence.  The Gingko tree links us with the infinite, and offers us peace with its strength and beauty.  It is the perfect memorial tree.

The Memorial Bench

We are in the process of raising funds to place a bench directly across the trail from Sharon's tree.  We envision it as a place where people can pause to reflect on the people and things that are important to them.  If you are interested in contributing to this effort, please contact us.

Where is her tree located?

The tree is located south of the Rock Creek Trailhead on Evergreen Road just east of Aloclek Drive in Hillsboro.  Use the map below to locate the tree.  Click on the marker to get directions.  (Unfortunately, this doesn't work on some mobile devices and browsers.)