How do you honor an ancient tree when it finally succumbs to disease? You hug it, of course.

Such a ceremony was held in Vermont to honor what what was believed to be the largest slippery elm in the Northeast after it finally succumbed to Dutch elm disease, according to the Nature Conservancy of Vermont. The historic tree was taken down Nov. 1.

Located in the town of Charlotte, the tree was believed to be between 175-200 years old. The tree was 19 feet 4 inches in circumference and stood 109 feet tall, reported the Associated Press.

Residents gathered to give the tree one last hug before the Vermont Tree Goods company began taking down the tree. The wood will be used to make artisan furniture, coasters and other items, with some of the profits going toward The Nature Conservancy's work to breed and plant disease-resistant elms throughout the state.

The groups publicized the event to call attention to the plight of elm trees. Since Dutch elm disease first surfaced in the 1930s, some 77 million elms have been wiped out throughout the United States.

Locals gathered at the Garrett residence in Charlotte for a ceremony to honor the tree. Locals gathered at the Garrett residence in Charlotte for a ceremony to honor the tree. (Photo: The Nature Conservancy Vermont Chapter)

Mary Jo DiLonardo Mary Jo writes about everything from health to parenting — and anything that helps explain why her dog does what he does.