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Magnolia Being Planted at City Hall in Loving Memory of Galveston’s Own Steel Magnolia
Galveston, TX (March 7, 2018) – On April 6th, 2018 in the park beside City Hall, family, friends, and colleagues will gather to honor Galveston’s own “Steel Magnolia” Lyda Ann Thomas by unveiling a tree planted in her memory by the Galveston Island Tree Conservancy.
As the ten-year anniversary of Hurricane Ike approaches, and the one year anniversary of her passing draws near, this Magnolia memorializes the many roots that she planted in our community that still thrive today.
“Lyda Ann was much more to Galveston than this City’s 54th Mayor,” said Mayor James D. Yarbrough. “We are still reaping the rewards of her tireless efforts fighting for Galveston after Ike. Many of the roots that she planted throughout her life are blossoming today.”
"The Galveston Island Tree Conservancy is grateful for Mayor Thomas' advocacy for planting and replanting trees especially after the devastating effects of Ike's storm surge on our community forest." - Priscilla Files, Exec. Dir. & Sr. Arborist, Galveston Island Tree Conservancy.
The tree was planted in the park beside City Hall in late February in remembrance of her dedication to making city government and city services more accessible for our citizens.
“Our mother was committed to her family, her community and her faith above all else. She believed that we all have a civic obligation and a responsibility that is best exercised in an open, inclusive and collaborative way,” said daughter Eliza Quiqley in a statement. “She was an extraordinary woman, mother, community leader and friend to so many. We are grateful for this kind gesture by the Tree conservancy and by the City of Galveston which she treasured so dearly. Our mother’s legacy lives on in countless ways all over the city.”
The ceremony will be held at City Hall on Friday, April 6th at 4:00 p.m. and the public is invited to attend. A plaque will be unveiled during the ceremony. The public is invited to attend as a show of appreciation for all that Mayor Thomas contributed to Galveston.
About Lyda Ann Thomas
Former Mayor Lyda Ann Thomas was elected to City Council in 1998, and first elected in 2004 as Mayor of the City of Galveston, re-elected in 2006, and was without an opponent to serve her last term, beginning in 2008. She worked tirelessly to make city government and city services more accessible to all citizens. She relished her role as spokeswoman, ambassador, visionary and advocate for Galveston and Galvestonians.
Her calm example and strength of character displayed during Hurricanes Rita & Ike (2005 & 2008) captured the attention and respect of people around the nation and the world. Acknowledged nationwide for her leadership during Hurricane Rita, her work helped focus city, state and national attention on how to plan, prepare, respond and recover from any future disaster, and became a model for the nation.
About the Tree
The tree dedicated was purchased and donated by the Galveston Island Tree Conservancy in gratitude for Galveston’s own Steel Magnolia, Former Mayor Lyda Ann Thomas. It is a ‘Little Gem’ Magnolia, a dwarf Southern Magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora ‘Little Gem’), with a very compact and narrow form. The large, glossy, evergreen leaves have rusty-brown undersides and are smaller than Southern Magnolia’s foliage. A naturally small tree, topping out at 30’-40’ at maturity, perfect for small gardens and tight spaces, it is truly captivating with very attractive, large, white, fragrant blooms; a proven winner for Galveston Island.
About the Galveston Island Tree Conservancy
Over the past eight years, the Galveston Island Tree Conservancy has been replanting the Island to mitigate the loss of 40,000 trees destroyed by Hurricane Ike. During that time, almost 18,000 trees from 50 species have been planted across the island. The Conservancy is financed by hundreds of ordinary Galvestonians, by local philanthropies and businesses, and by the sweat equity of hundreds of volunteers. Throughout, the group has worked closely with the City of Galveston and the Texas A&M Forest service along with many other partners and with significant input from Galvestonians to ensure that our work has the support of the community and that our plantings meet the highest standards for diversity and resiliency.