Niley remembered with tree on Arbor Day


By Ryan Berry

GREENVILLE — Dave Niley’s legacy with the Darke County Fair Board and his other activities in the community was recognized on Friday, April 28. In recognition of Niley’s lifetime of service and achievements, Fitzwater Tree & Lawn Care planted a tree on Arbor Day in his honor at the Darke County Fairgrounds.

Approximately 20 people, including friends and family, braved the chilly and wet weather to honor Niley. Jay Adams, corporate manager for Fitzwater Tree & Lawn Care, said, “What a testament today for all the people showing up on this not lovely day to honor Dave.”

It has become a tradition for Fitzwater Tree & Lawn Care to plant a tree in the community on Arbor Day. “This is a special Arbor Day today because not only do we have the opportunity to plant a tree at the fairgrounds, but we also have the opportunity to memorialize a very good friend of all of ours, a family member of some of you and a personal friend,” said Adams.

Adams shared that he got to know Niley over the years when they would traverse the fairgrounds in a golf cart to determine which trees needed to be taken out.

The tree was planted near the horse show arena. Adams explained the White Oak is a perfect choice to honor Niley. “This tree will be here for hundreds of years, we hope. It’s strong rooted. Does that remind you of somebody?” He directed his comments to Niley’s daughters, “I think this tree gives a great tribute to your father.”

Niley’s daughters and other family members unveiled the plaque at the base of the tree. The marble memorial states, “Planted in memory of David E. Niley, 1937-2022, Rooted in love for lifelong service to our community, Arbor Day 2023.”

Jim Zumbrink, fair board member, served on the fair board with Niley for approximately 22 years. He said, “This is a great tribute to Dave. People don’t realize how much time and effort Dave put into this fair. He was practically out here every day after he retired looking over buildings and kept the board abreast of what was going on.” He added that when the Sheriff’s contract came up this year, nobody realized it because that was something Niley had always taken care of. “Dave was a great guy. Words can’t describe Dave Niley. The tree will be here, and I hope when they walk by, they remember Dave,” said Zumbrink.

To contact Daily Advocate Editor Ryan Berry, email [email protected].

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