Tom Hammer started the tradition of naming the tree planted by the city of Anoka each year on Arbor Day.

This year the city named it after him, in memory of the longtime Anoka resident’s years of service to the community.

“Huck” the hackberry tree is now taking root outside the Little Blessings of Anoka Childhood Learning Center at 440 Pierce St. Hammer, also known as Huck, died in February at age 70.

Representatives of the city planted the tree on Arbor Day Friday, April 30, with help from students at the center. The ceremony also marked the city of Anoka’s 40th consecutive year earning the designation off Tree City USA.

At the event Council Member Jeff Weaver presented Hammer’s significant other, Susan Mathison, with a copy of a mayoral proclamation declaring April 30, 2021, Tom Hammer Day in Anoka.

“Tom Hammer was a special person in the city of Anoka,” Weaver said.

Hammer lived in Anoka most of his life. He served as co-chair of the Highway 10 Beautification Project in 1999; captained a pontoon for the Riverfest boat rides for years; assisted with a shoreline stabilization project at Mississippi River Community Park; served on the Charter Commission 2001-2020; supported habitat recovery for the monarch butterfly; and more.

From 2012 to 2018 Hammer participated in the city’s Arbor Day Celebration, teaching children about the importance of trees and their role in the environment.

After Weaver read the proclamation honoring Hammer April 30, Council Member Elizabeth Barnett read aloud the book “It Starts With a Seed” by Laura Knowles.

Then the children had a chance to don play hardhats and shovel dirt into the hole around Huck the hackberry.


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