By Judy Reed
Clara Gust, 90, will long be remembered by the residents of Cedar Springs and all the people who use the White Pine Trail staging area at W. Maple and Second Streets. The city dedicated a pavilion there in her honor Monday.
Clara’s son, Gary Gust, told the Post in a previous interview that when he heard that the city of Cedar Springs wanted his property at the end of Maple and Second Street for a staging area, he knew what he wanted to do with it. He and his wife, Lolly, and his sister, Joanne, decided to donate the property, with one stipulation. “I wanted them to build some sort of structure, such as a gazebo, and put a plaque on the building dedicating it to our mother,” explained Gary.
The city agreed, and the gazebo was built last fall by Charlie Nelson, 16, and other volunteers for an Eagle Scout project. A plaque in Clara’s honor was placed on a rock that was donated by the Dean Wall family.
Clara moved here in the 1930s with her parents, George and Nellie Ruth (Lockwood) Sillaway, from Ada. Her father was the last station agent here for the Grand Trunk Railroad, and retired after 47 years of service.
Clara graduated from Cedar Springs High School as salutatorian of her class, and worked in several local businesses. She married Roger Gust and they had three children—Gary, Joanne, and Beverly.
Several members of the family were present for the dedication, including Gary, his wife Lolly, son Jeff Gust, daughter Michelle Tackmann, and her daughter Izzy Tackmann. Clara was unable to attend due to her health.
Mayor Charlie Watson said the location of the pavilion would be a hub for the future of Cedar Springs. “The Clara Gust Gazebo will be a pleasant rest stop for travelers on the White Pine Trail. They will be able to picnic and relax here, children will be able to play here and visit one of the city’s original flowing wells, fish in Cedar Creek, and one day visit the new Cedar Springs Public Library or skateboard at the skate park or listen to concerts at the amphitheater that the city hopes to one day add to this part of town,” he said.
The White Pine Trail staging area has been made possible by a matching grant from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Trust Fund. Besides the gazebo, new picnic tables, benches and a bike rack have been installed, and bathrooms will be installed later this year.