Plainwell remembers Dale Harrington with tree

Ryan Lewis

The Plainwell Parks and Trees Commission organized the planting and dedication of a redbud tree along the riverwalk behind Plainwell Auto in memory of longtime Plainwell resident Dale Harrington.
The ceremony Friday, April 27, began with a performance by the Plainwell High School Concert Choir.
Commission member and city council member Todd Overhuel then read the official city proclamation marking the occasion and presented it to Deb Harrington, Dale’s wife.
She said he’d appreciate it, as they have many flowering trees, such as azaleas, in their yard. They’ve lived together in Plainwell for 30 years and have two grown children.
“My husband lived here his whole life,” Deb Harrington said. He ran Dale’s Auto Service in town until 1997. After selling the business, he worked as a service manager at Midwest Motors. Harrington died in October 2016, but not before they agreed to donate the pine tree in their yard for use as the city’s Christmas tree.
“We donated the tree at Christmas time because it was too big for our yard,” Deb Harrington said. “That’s what he wanted to do with it instead of having it cut down and trashed.
“And now we have a tree downtown in his memory, so I’m pretty excited.”
Overhuel, the city council member on the Parks and Trees Commission, said it celebrates a Plainwell resident’s life each year on Arbor Day.
“This year they chose Dale, who we all dearly miss,” he said. “This would be the last place Dale would go to, yet here we all are. He’s probably look down on us, laughing at all this fuss.
“He was a terrific mechanic and a great card player,” he said, noting he and Dale enjoyed hassling each other. “You get him annoyed, he’d be more fun—and he’d give it back as good as he got it. We’d go on and on. A lot of people in Plainwell knew him and miss him greatly.”
Guests of the ceremony received free prairie crabapple seedlings to plant elsewhere.
Contact Ryan Lewis at or (269) 673-5534.


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