Remembering Brian Skinner

Brian at left with his children Melissa, Tracy, Kevin, and Brianne and six of his eight grandkids. Brian’s wife Diane took the photo.

If you haven’t had a chance to send in a reflection, editor Michelle will be happy to add it. Please send to editor@nysufc.org. 

There are two rich profiles of Brian on the blog that you might like to visit. A popular profile from 2014, and Brian’s reflections on his career from the time of his semi-retirement from National Grid. There’s also a post about Brian receiving the first-ever Heartwood Award for service to the Council. 

Brian presenting a “10,000 Trees and Growing” check to ReTree Schenectady President Betsy Henry. 

“Brian was one of the first people I met when I joined the Council and attended my first ReLeaf conference. If I recall correctly, he was sitting outside a college dorm with a six-pack of beer, surrounded by other foresters, telling stories and radiating camaraderie. I felt like I had finally found my place amongst other tree lovers. Brian was always warm and welcoming, and an enthusiast for citizen-led tree plantings. His inspired “10,000 Trees and Growing program” at National Grid continues to fund our underwire plantings in Schenectady. Brian’s legacy lives on through the thousands of trees and lives he touched. —Betsy Henry

Brian served as an advisor to the Town of DeWitt Tree Committee since 2007 when the committee was formed. He missed only a handful of meetings over those 11 years. He was a wonderful friend and a great teacher, and he was always willing to visit a trouble spot and to prepare a detailed report. He lives in our hearts as The Best. —Ann Stevens

Brian visiting with Tour des Trees riders and TdT Director Mary DiCarlo. 

Brian set the bar for professionalism and was a true industry leader in arboriculture and line clearance. He was a role model for the next generation of arborists, and I can only hope to have an impact the way he did to thousands of communities across the state. I will always remember his lectures and guidance he gave during his years presenting at numerous conferences. He will be missed as a friend and a peer. His work will be cherished for generations to come.

In my last communication with him, Brian said “Keep your crews safe, and never stop learning.” This statement was a testament of his character. —Jeff Bell

I was very saddened tohear of Brian’s passing. He was a great guy and one of the main reasons the Urban Forestry Council has flourished. I was fortunate to spend some time alone with him at the 2017 Conference at St. John’s. He fully understood what the situation was yet here he was, contributing. Over the years he shared lots of his experience with me and others. We are blessed to have known him, and he is a fine example for us of using whatever time God grants us to continue to improve the environment. Presenting Brian with the Council’s first-ever Heartwood Award was a great idea. He set a high standard. —Marty Mullarkey  

Brian was truly selfless. You could count on him for anything at any time. I appreciated his leadership, mentorship, camaraderie, and humor. He was also always helping students get job opportunities, and he took a sincere interest in the students and their development in vegetation management. I’m really going to miss him and his easy way with folks; his patience seemed to have no bounds. —Eric J. Greenfield

Brian’s name tags hould have had a gold ribbon. He was the gold standard. Rest in Peace, Brian. —Stephanie Radin

What a wonderful man! We will think of you often, Brian. Prayers for family and friends as we remember all the fond memories. And the “Party on the Patio” continues … a toast to you, Brian! —Alix Krueger

About this photo, Brian said, “Here I am, at my summer desk.” He exhibited at countless NYS Arborists and National Grid events, among others.  

Some of us have devoted time and talent to the NYSUFC, some have focused on NY ReLeaf, others to Arbor Day activities or the NYS Arborists ISA Chapter. Brian contributed greatly to all of these and more. —Andy Hillman

So sad. A huge loss to our community. —Lew Cutler

A loss to the industry and his passion and knowledge for his work will be missed. —Philip Healey

Brian was a great guy, and I was always impressed with how much time and effort he devoted to the Council. He will be missed. —John Parry

Nobody worked harder for NY State arboriculture than Brian. —Larry Ferrandiz

There weren’t many NYSUFC, ISA, or UAA meetings where Brian wasn’t there or didn’t have a primary role in planning and implementing the meeting. I’ll miss seeing you, Bud. — Tim Chick

From Brian’s obituary:

Brian Skinner, 70, of Minoa, passed away on Sunday evening, November 25, 2018. Born to Bernard and Margaret Skinner, Brian was raised in Poughkeepsie. He graduated from SUNY College of Forestry in 1970 and became a professional arborist for 47 years, with ISA Certified Arborist and ASCA Registered Consulting Arborist credentials. Brian worked primarily for Lewis Tree Service and National Grid.

During his career, Brian served the NYS Arborists Chapter of ISA and the New York State Urban Forestry Council. The recipient of numerous association awards, he was most proud of The National Grid Chairman’s Award, National Grid’s “10,000 Trees and Growing” community tree planting program, and establishing the NYS Arborists education booth at the NYS Fair, celebrating 35 years at the Fair in 2018.

He begins his new journey, leaving his loving wife of 45 years, Diane; children Melissa (Preston) Ritchie, Tracy (Joseph) Brady, Kevin (Julie) Skinner, and Brianne (Juan) Salazar; and eight beautiful grandchildren: Anabella and Colin Ritchie; Samantha and Tara Brady; Brandon, Tyler, and Ethan Skinner; and Katrina Salazar; brother James (Monie) Skinner, brother-in-law Michael Philipbar; and nieces Mallory and Hillary Philipbar. 

Donations in Brian’s honor can be made to the Tree Fund, The American Lung Assn. for IPF Research (55th W. Wacker Dr., Suite 1150, Chicago, IL 60601), or Hospice of Central NY (990 7th North St., Syracuse, NY 13088).

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: