Man plants 4.5 miles of sunflowers to honor late wife - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Man plants 4.5 miles of sunflowers to honor late wife


(WQOW) -- In western Wisconsin there's a four and a half mile stretch of road guided by astonishing color.

Sunflowers planted in memory of an even more astonishing woman, who recently lost her nine-year battle with cancer.

400 acres and hundreds of thousands of glorious blossoms glisten beneath the golden sun on highway 85.

They sway in memory of a woman.

"She was like an angel without wings and now she has wings," said Jennifer White, Babbette Juqish's daughter.

Who shone as bright as the light the flowers stand in attention to.

"They're just like a big yellow smile and my mom was always smiling."

On November 17 Babbette died, after a nine-year battle with multiple myeloma -- a form of leukemia.

"She was really sick when she was first diagnosed. They gave her two weeks to two months to live if she didn't respond to the chemotherapy at that time," White said.

During her fierce fight with cancer, Babbette's husband, Don, began planting her favorite flower on their property.

"Her dream was to take the sunflowers that we raised, and it's start to finish, and sell them and donate a portion of the proceeds to cancer research and also helping families with expenses involved in cancer treatment," White said.

Don and Jennifer are nurturing that dream.

"I told Jenny I want to make Babbette the Betty Crocker of the sunflower business," Don Juqish said.

A simple but substantial tribute for a selfless woman.

"Four months from the day that Babbette died, to the day, Jenny was looking for something in the file cabinet and came across a folder where Babbette had written a letter to each one of her children and to me and to her mom and each of her siblings," said Don.

"Dear don, thank you for the life we had together," the letter said.

That has become nearly as yellow. "What a great gift it was to find true love, a soul mate and a friend before our lives are over,” Don read. "I love you very much and will never be far away. Love Babbette."

Obviously Don doesn't own all of the land where the sunflowers were planted.

He says he was amazed at people's willingness to allow him to plant on their property in Babbette's honor.

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