Bio: Zickert’s Easter Egg Tree Tradition (2022)

Contact: Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon

Surnames: Zickert, Kranz

----Source: Clark County Press (Neillsville, Clark Co., WI) 4/13/2022

Family Continues Zickert’s Easter Egg Tree Tradition (2022)

This colorful tree greets passersby on West 15th Street in Neillsville. The tree was Carol Zickert’s project every year, and although she has passed away, her family has made it a point to keep the display of Easter cheer going in her honor. Submitted photo

After the passing of Carol Zickert this past fall, her family has come together to make sure the community tradition she started lives on.

“The tree has become an Easter staple in the [Neillsville] community,” wrote Carol’s daughter Michelle Kranz in an email.

The Zickert Community Easter Egg Tree began over 25 years ago when Carol decided to excite her first grandchild, Derek, with a small Easter egg tree and egg hunt. As the years went by and the family grew, Carol increased the size of the tree, the number of eggs tied on the branches and the number of eggs to hide.

The tree started out with somewhere around 20 eggs and grew to more than 1,400 eggs. Preparing and putting the tree up ah year was a time-consuming process.

“Each year my dad Gordy Zickert would go out and find a nice tree, bring it home, paint it silver, shave and sand the trunk to fit a pipe and then hang it sideways in the garage. Mom would have already worked months on pre-tying the Easter eggs. In the earlier days before they had holes in them, they also had to be drilled with two holes in each egg. The next step was to tie the eggs to the tree, rotating the tree to get all areas. Usually, this process was just Mom and Dad, but occasionally a friend or family member would help too,” Kranz (Krainz?) wrote.

Once the tree was ready, Gordy would pound a pipe in the front yard and the family would help carry the tree from the garage and place it in the pipe. The work wasn’t done though. The next step was tying the branches to the main trunk, so when it snowed on the eggs, the limbs wouldn’t get too heavy and break.

“So many people believed that the tree was permanently there, and some even commented on how they [had] never seen a silver tree. Sometimes we would just say it was a silver maple,” Michelle wrote.

After the season, the tree was hauled back into the garage where the eggs were snipped off and put away for next year.

The family calls it the Zickert Community Easter Egg Tree because of how well known Carol was in the community from working at the Wildcat Inn and Hansen’s IGA for many years.

“I always called her my social butterfly because no matter where we would go, she new someone, and everyone loved her. Her Easter egg tree became so known through the years that people would call to find our then the tree going to be put up,” Kranz wrote.

“Members of the community would stop at Mom and dad’s house to take family pictures by the tree and Mom and Dad loved seeing them do that. Many times, people would drop off packages of new Easter eggs to add to her collection. One year Mom didn’t put up the tree due to snow and not feeling the best. She received so many calls be cause the tree wasn’t up and also people checking to see if she was OK. She said, ‘Guess I will never not put the Easter egg tree again.’”

Carol also had an egg hunt that started with a few dozen plastic eggs through the years and grew to over 1,300 eggs hidden for her six grandchildren: Derek, Bekkah, Alycia, Vanessa, Lane, and Tye. She would ask the neighbors on her city block if she and her family could hide eggs on their property as well, since there were so many eggs and it made it more competitive for the grandchildren, most of whom are adults now.

“My brother Todd and I would come over Easter morning and hide the eggs for her, which were all filled with coins. It took between two and three hours to hide them all. One of her neighbors, Lori, would sometimes hide a few of her own eggs with ours because she enjoyed watching Mom’s grandkids search for them on Easter day,” wrote Michelle.

Aside from the egg tree, egg hunt, Easter baskets and Easter dinner, Easter was the highlight of Mom’s year. She loved spring – the bright colors the egg s brought to the wet, damp, dead-looking outdoor; the families that would stop by to take pictures and the joy it brought to so many people. She wanted to put more sparkle eggs on the tree this year, she told me, to make it shimmer in the sun.

“This year in memory of our mom, our family came together with the help of Missy and Terren Stockheimer (who helped pre-tie a lot of eggs) and made Mom’s Easter egg tree happen for the community again in honor of the b right, beautiful soul she was. And yes, I went out and bought more sparkle eggs to put on the tree for her this year,” Michelle wrote.

There are more than 1,500 eggs on this year‘s tree.

“Hopefully, the sun comes out soon to see the shimmer of Mom’s tree. We miss her with all our hearts and though we are sad this Easter, we hope her memory lives on withing our community and that she is thought of this Easter season. So far, we have had a heartwarming response to the tree being place in her honor.”

The tree, “In Loving Memory of Carol Zickert, 9-09-2021” can be viewed at 501 W. 15th St., in Neillsville.

Shown are Carol and Gordy Zickert by the Zickert Community Easter Egg Tree.
Submitted photo





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