EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

December 18, 2013

Angel statue stolen from man's memorial to late wife

By Mike LaBella

---- — HAVERHILL — Tom Warren regularly visits his wife’s grave at the Maplewood Cemetery in Plaistow. He says a few prayers then crosses the street to visit with fellow members of the American Legion Wilbur M. Comeau Post 4.

On his way inside the club, he always pauses to glance at a Rose of Sharon bush he planted several years ago as a memorial to his wife, Sharon Rose Warren. He checked the two-foot tall statue of an angel that was given to him to add to his memorial and glances at a plaque given to him in memory of his wife.

Then came a day in October when the angel statue was gone.

“Whoever took that angel knew exactly what it was for,” Warren said, noting how a memorial plaque bearing his wife’s name was left undisturbed.

Warren told his friends in the club in hopes that his “angel” would be returned. Warren, 62, says the statue really can’t be replaced. Warren is a member of both the American Legion and the Sons of the American Legion, as his father served in the Army as did he.

“I often think about what kind of person would do that,” Warren said. “Could it have been someone who came to a function at the club? You really couldn’t see the statue from the street. You’d have to be in the parking lot to see it.”

About 25 years ago, Tom Warren and his wife Sharon planted a Rose of Sharon tree at their home on Groveland Street. Warren says that after his wife died of cancer four years ago, he moved to an apartment building on Highland Avenue and took the tree with him. He replanted it in a spot near the front entrance of the Legion club as a memorial to his wife. The tree is the property of the Legion, Warren said.

His friend, Kathy Bayt, a historian for the Women’s Auxiliary to American Legion Post 4 at 1314 Main St., gave him a plaque in memory of his wife. The angel statue was given to him by a neighbor.

“I was visiting with a neighbor who had two angel statues on the porch of her apartment,” Warren said. “I told her they were really nice and reminded me of my wife.”

Warren told the woman about the memorial he’d created outside the American Legion.

“My wife was the kind of person who no matter what pain she was in she was always ready to help someone out,” Warren said. “She was like an angel who helped everybody.”

A few days passed before Warren and his neighbor chatted again.

“She told me she wanted me to have the angel,” he said.

His memorial was complete, and had been left untouched until a few months ago.

After he discovered the angel was missing, he told friends and also mentioned it to the woman who’d originally given it to him.

“I asked if she’d be willing to sell me her other statue and she said she wouldn’t sell it at any price,” Warren said. “Then she told me this story.”

Warren said the woman told him that she’d purchased two angel statues years ago from a woman who made just five of them before she became very ill and could not make any more.

“I had a very special statue for my wife and now I can’t replace it,” Warren said.