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Sandy Journal

New bench plaque at Sego Lily Gardens honors Sandy volunteer Doris Richards

Aug 05, 2020 03:07PM ● By Heather Lawrence

A bench plaque honoring the memory of Sandy resident Doris Richards was unveiled at a program with family and close friends on July 18 at Sego Lily Gardens. (Heather Lawrence/City Journals)

By Heather Lawrence | [email protected]

Members of the Dimple Dell Preservation Committee gathered July 18 at Sego Lily Gardens to honor their friend and fellow board member Doris Richards. Richards passed away Feb. 20, 2019, and spent much of her life volunteering in the Sandy community. During the short program, a plaque dedicated to Richards was unveiled.

“Sandy City allowed us to attach a commemorative plaque to one of the benches in the garden in honor of [Richards]. We had planned to do it back in April, but had to postpone it. Due to the personal nature of the event, we just wanted it to be a small service,” said Joyce Walker, fellow DDPC board member.  

The event was put together by Richards’s friend from the DDPC board, Diana Van Uitert. The event was attended by about 40 friends and family. 

“Van Uitert and others shared remarks about Doris's life. Those two women worked side by side through the years, and Richards gave a lifetime of work to many organizations that benefited Sandy City, Dimple Dell Canyon and horse riding groups,” Walker said. 

“Van Uitert designed the plaque, raised contributions and made arrangements for its placement in the peaceful setting of Sego Lily Gardens,” Walker said. 

Sego Lily Gardens is a free public garden at 1472 E. Sego Lily Dr., about one block southeast of the Sandy Library. It is managed by Sandy City and used as a demonstration garden for water-wise landscaping. Ordinarily, community groups can volunteer to help with garden work or schedule an education session. Though the gardens are still open, group volunteering and education have been canceled this summer. 

Richards also worked at Sego Lily and was friends with Dawn Barbee, who manages the garden for Sandy City. “I knew Doris and she was one of the garden staff. She was a delight. She was concerned for the environment and loved all things. She really didn’t like to pull weeds because they were living things and she wanted to see everything flourish,” Barbee said. 

Barbee has a special memory about Richards associated with gardening. “She had been at the garden for many years and we learned so much from her. Once I took the whole staff to the Conservation Garden in West Jordan for a field trip. She just lit up! All the staff were running around, and looking at this beautiful place laughing and smiling. It was truly a great day, and I am very happy we got to experience it together,” Barbee said. 

The theme of the day was sunflowers, Richards’s favorite. Van Uitert stood at a table decorated with sunflower colors and shared some of her favorite memories. The group took a short walk along the trail to where the plaque was unveiled, and then everyone enjoyed sunflower-decorated cupcakes. 

“The bench where we placed the plaque is under an arbor of wisteria and provides a quiet and restful place to sit and enjoy the gardens. It’s a lovely and fitting tribute to Richards, a kind woman who spent much of her life contributing to our community and her family and friends,” Walker said. 

The plaque incorporates symbols of everything that was special to Richards: a sunflower for her love of gardens, a horseshoe for her love of horses and paw prints for her love of animals.

Richards also volunteered at the Sandy Amphitheater. “She was always willing to jump in and help wherever needed, even as she fought her own battle with cancer. We miss her kind heart and beautiful smile,” said Kelli Allen, house manager for the amphitheater. 

Richards’s family suggested at her passing that friends make a donation to a reputable charity of their choice in Doris's name. They hope the memorial they created will remind everyone who passes the bench of the power that one person has to make a difference. 

“We feel the loss, and she has been missed. She was a character and a sweet woman,” Barbee said. 

The plaque reads: “In memory of our friend Doris Richards, who was beautiful, like this garden that she loved.”