Jane Christy, of Millville, works in her family’s Christy Funeral Home, with her husband, Matt, and daughter Rebecca. But she comes from a farming family.

“I have to plant every spring,” said the master gardener and former Cumberland County freeholder who recently won the Holly Society of America’s Wolf-Fenton Award, its highest honor.

She first got involved in the society, which is based in Millville but has members around the world, after helping to raise $20,000 to save the vandalized Holly Murals at the former YMCA in Millville. The restored murals, which depict the history of the plant from pre-Columbian to modern days, now hang at the Holly City Family Center in Millville.

The Holly Society had helped, and she liked its members, whom she calls a friendly bunch. Ten years later, she has held several offices in the society, which promotes the genus Ilex and recognizes new cultivars. She is now vice president, and plans annual meetings at arboretums and gardens around the country.

The award was established to honor two other Millville residents: the late Clarence R. Wolf, founder of the Holly Society; and the late Daniel Fenton, its first recipient. Wolf was the owner of the New Jersey Silica Sand Co., and Fenton ran a holly nursery for Wolf. Fenton is credited with developing 14 cultivars, including “Mamie Eisenhower” and “Eleanor,” both planted at the White House.

“People seem to associate me with trees,” said Christy, who was instrumental in saving a 300-year-old white oak from being cut down about 15 years ago on Wawa property in Millville.

Teachers help

Vineland school teachers Maritza Gonzalez, Jessica Albertson, Tania Kidd, Jennifer Lapsley, Jamie Lapsley, Meghan Moratelli and Jessica Suppa went door-to-door in Ocean City during their November hiatus assessing the needs of residents for OCNJ CARE in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. Bilingual teachers such as Gonzalez translated for Spanish speakers, a district spokesperson said.

Genuardi’s managers donate turkeys

Genuardi’s store manager Paul McCloskey and meat department manager Matthew Zarozny personally purchased 50 turkey dinners for families of Habitat for Humanity Atlantic County, said Executive Director Debbie Van Sant.

Five years ago the Egg Harbor Township store’s staff started collecting funds to purchase turkey dinners for charitable organizations. Due to the effects of Hurricane Sandy and difficult economic times, McCloskey and Zarozny decided to continue the tradition this year using their own funds.

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Contact Michelle Brunetti Post:

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