Local resident creates tabletop Christmas trees to honor husband’s memory

Del Mar's Maureen Dime and her Christmas trees.
(B. Dean)

Del Mar’s Maureen Dime took on a personal holiday fundraiser to honor the memory of her late husband Steve “Rock” Dime, who passed away in early 2021 at the age of 68.

Over the last few months, she made over 150 tabletop Christmas trees, each one unique and handcrafted with “oodles of love.” All of the trees are spoken for and the funds from each tree purchased will be donated to the Michael J. Fox Foundation to help its efforts with Parkinson’s disease research.

The trees were a way to work through her sadness and heal with sparkles and holiday magic.

“After his untimely passing in early 2021, the loss of my sweetheart has been a time of immense sadness,” she said. “In my journey to pass along many sleepless nights, I leaned on his zest for life and fine-tuned my creativity and focused my energies on designing one-of-a-kind tabletop holiday trees in his honor.”

Rock, a native of the Bronx, New York City, had been a Del Mar resident since the early 1980s. He was a former executive for Oracle Corporation, an avid motorcycle rider with a passion for gardening, and a former member of the San Dieguito Lagoon Committee.

“He was so charismatic and full of life, most would say he was larger than life,” Maureen said. “Despite his declining health, and then a diagnosis of Parkinson’s in 2019, Steve stayed positive and his smile was always bright enough to light up every heart he touched.”

He had the nickname Rock for over 30 years and most people knew him as Rock Dime. “He’s my spiritual rock now,” Maureen said. “RockOn has been my mantra since his passing, to remind me to stay strong…I say it all the time.”

Christmas season was always a special time for the couple as they got married on Christmas Eve in 1997—their merry marriage on the Polynesian island of Moorea even featured a visit from Santa. Both Maureen and Steve loved the holiday season and all of the festive decorations in their home and all the sparkling lights around the neighborhood.

Proceeds from the sales of the trees support the Michael J. Fox Foundation.
(Maureen Dime)

“We had so much joy at that time of year and I think that’s what makes these trees even more special,” she said.

Dime got the idea for the trees in late summer when one of her best friends mentioned he never really had time to decorate during the busy holiday season. She decided to make him a tree as a way to thank him for how much he helped her after Rock’s passing.

Working on the project she felt a lot of focus and control, a way through her grief. She decided to make 10 more trees for her sisters and friends but after 11, it just kind of blossomed into something more. It became a personal fundraiser, spreading the word online asking for $100 donations per tree that would go to support Michael J. Fox Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to finding a cure for Parkinson’s disease and developing improved therapies for those living with the disease.

Each tree started off as just a simple foam cone, a blank canvas. She added adornments, feathers, baubles and lots and lots of sparkles: “the more sparkly the better.” Each of the more than 150 trees is different and unique.

She shipped trees all over the country— to Long Island, to a friend that grew up across the street from Rock, trees went to Canada and to Virginia. Some made a donation and asked that the tree be gifted to someone else in Rock’s honor so Maureen has given trees to his Parkinson’s physician and physical therapy team who took such good care of him.

“I’m thrilled that all of them are spoken for, it’s very, very rewarding,” she said. “It is my hope these little trees bring people joy, an extra dash of happiness and light up their corner of the world.”