Margaret Wickel’s Boys & Girls Club family gathered together to plant a tree and share stories about a friend they are missing.
Margaret Wickel was remembered with laughter and tears at the memorial planting of an orange tree at the community garden across from Bunnell Elementary on Saturday, Feb. 11.
Margaret and her mother, Terri Lynn Wickel, were killed in a car crash on Jan. 16. The mother and daughter, who were described as “extremely close” and “always together,” died after Tyler Lane Wilkinson ran a red light at Palm Coast Parkway and Pine Cone Drive. The Wickels' car was in the intersection.
Stephanie Ecklin-Hope, director of the Flagler Boys & Girls Club, of which Margaret was a faithful member for nearly five years, said the tree had been selected because Margaret liked oranges.
A picnic table at the garden is now covered in pink and purple hand prints. Pink and purple were Margaret’s favorite colors.
“Every time you walked (into the Boys & Girls Club meetings at Rymfire Elementary), she was a ray of sunshine,” Lisa Ryals, area director for the Volusia/Flagler Boys & Girls Club, said. “She always had that infectious smile.”
Margaret had Down syndrome, but that didn’t slow her down from participating in events at the club. She loved to bowl, cheerlead, dance and, especially, watch Woman’s World Wrestling on her notepad.
“The first thing the kids do when they arrive is homework. It’s our power hour,” Ecklin-Hope said. “If they don’t have any homework they read, do flash cards, or help someone else. Margaret always wanted to watch wrestling on her tablet, so we would tell her she could after she was done with her work.”
Joseph Sullivan recalled how, when he would visit the club, Margaret would make sure everyone was behaving.
“She took pride in her club,” Sullivan said.
Clutching a Raggedy Ann doll, Jennifer Pietorosante spoke softly to the crowd about her friend. So did another of Margaret’s friends with special needs, Alex Dillard, who blushed when the talk turned to Margaret’s crush on him.
The kids in the club gathered together with Master Gardener David Tibbetts and DeAndre Harris, club youth development professional, to plant the tree together — something Margaret would have been proud of.