Overlake Hospital Medical Center's Tree of Hope ceremony has a perfect backdrop this year — a memorial tree. Each year folks in the...

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Overlake Hospital Medical Center’s Tree of Hope ceremony has a perfect backdrop this year — a memorial tree.

Each year folks in the Overlake Cancer Center Auxiliary host a Tree of Hope candle-lighting ceremony in the hospital lobby. For a small donation, candles will be lit at 7 p.m. tomorrow in honor or memory of family members or friends with serious diseases.

Both the auxiliary and the ceremony grew out of a death.

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Bob and Jan Conrad of Bellevue lost their 24-year-old daughter, Rachelle, to cancer in 1996. A tulip tree — Rachelle’s nickname was Tulip — was planted in her memory outside the southern end of the hospital. Jan Conrad later helped start the Cancer Center Auxiliary, and in 2000 the Auxiliary started the candle-lighting ceremony.

In preparation for an upcoming expansion of the Bellevue hospital, the tree recently was moved to a central court just outside what is now the main entrance and lobby. That means the tulip tree will be right outside the window for tomorrow night’s ceremony.

For information on having a candle lit in someone’s name, call 425-688-5527.

Looking back

Employees at Medtronic in Redmond celebrated Valentine’s Day yesterday with cake. No romance involved — Feb. 14 is the company’s 50th anniversary. When founded, the company was called Physio Control.

Thanks to Redmond historian Naomi Hardy, folks at Medtronic know a bit more about the company location on Willows Road. Hardy has been working for several years on the Redmond Historical Society’s soon-to-be-published book, “Redmond Reflections — From Cowchips to Microchips.” Hardy recently shared the history of Medtronic’s site in the society’s newsletter.

May and Ronald Crawford platted the area in the 1880s as the town of York. The town had a post office but never much more.

Early last century, King County bought the land and built the Lazy Husband Farm. Men who weren’t supporting their families were sent there to work. Alas, the ranch became noted for something entirely different in 1918: bootlegging. The feds shut down the bootlegging operation, and shortly thereafter King County closed the ranch.

The land reverted to more traditional farming until 1967, when Rocket Research built its headquarters there. In 1974, Physio Control moved to another section of the farm.

It’s appropriate that Feb. 14, the day devoted to affairs of the heart, is the company’s anniversary. Medtronic produces heart products such as defibrillators and pacemakers.

One last grin

In my column last Tuesday, I gave a big thumbs-up to the license-plate frame “Real Women Drive Fire Trucks.”

Heather Smith of Issaquah called to say thank you and shared the story behind the message.

Smith works for Wireless Services. The license frame was a gift from her fiancé, Scott Waller of Issaquah. He purchased the personalized message when Smith bought her Dodge Durango.

And does she drive a firetruck?

“I certainly do,” said the 34-year-old. “I’m a volunteer with Eastside Fire & Rescue.”

Waller understands about Smith being on call all the time and her commitment to weekly drills. He’s right beside her. Waller also volunteers with Eastside Fire & Rescue.

Sherry Grindeland: 206-515-5633 or sgrindeland@seattletimes.com