A Tribute to Our Friend Pat Tobin

Pat Tobin in 2014 accepting Tree City USA recognition for Fayetteville, which has been a Tree City USA for nearly 20 years, thanks in no small part to Pat’s efforts. With Pat is NYSDEC Urban Forestry Partnerships Coordinator Sally Kellogg.

Beloved Council Past President (2006-2009) and longtime Council stalwart friend Pat Tobin died unexpectedly on September 1, 2018 in her home in Fayetteville. Pat was born and raised in the Eastwood neighborhood of Syracuse, graduating from Eastwood High School and continued her education, receiving a BA from Syracuse University. She remained a lifelong SU sports fan, cheering the football team on her last evening!

Pat spent 40 years at Niagara Mohawk as an IT programmer. After her retirement, Pat became a super-volunteer, helping out with numerous causes, most especially the urban forest by way of the Council and the Fayetteville Tree Commission. Pat was also an active member of Immaculate Conception Church in Fayetteville. 

We remember Pat …

“We will certainly miss Pat as a leader of the Council, but also as the gentle and kind soul that she was. I’m sending a picture of her and her good friend Ann Stevens (to Pat’s right) at the Queens Botanical Garden, watching a low-flying plane that was landing at LaGuardia. She and I had a good laugh over this photo, because she said it looks like they’ve never seen a plane before, but I told her it was just her natural curiosity kicking in. On top of everything else, she had a good sense of humor. I will miss her smile and gentle manner.” —Council President Karen Emmerich

“She was an inspiration to me and so many other tree lovers. My condolences to her family. She will be missed by so many.” —Sharon DiLorenzo

“With her glowing smile, Pat always lifted up others around her and never had an unkind word to say of anyone. She saw the good in all people and encouraged upcoming professionals like myself to be all they can be. She was always a leader when it came to public policy and could be counted on to lead advocacy efforts in Albany, a role that took expertise and dedication that she possessed more than anyone.” —David Moore

“I was very saddened to hear of Pat’s passing. She was our second President of the Council. We on the Executive Committee were very happy when she reluctantly agreed to do it. She was so humble that she did not think she could do well. We did think she would do a great job and she did. This was very important since we became more organized and established a good reputation. I always enjoyed being in her presence. Pat had a great smile and was always ready to laugh but she could also be very serious when the situation needed it. One year we were on a field trip on a particularly sunny day. I lent her an extra hat I had with me. The next meeting we attended she presented me with a black cap with a shamrock and ‘Marty’ written in front. I loved it, still wear it, and will always treasure it.” —Marty Mullarkey

“Whether she was the Council president, advocate, board member, or a fellow urban forestry friend, Pat was always gracious, dedicated, friendly, and caring. She had a common sense approach that served our Council well. Everything was going to be ok if you walked in the room and Pat was there. I will really miss her.” —Brenda Cagle

“I was truly saddened when I heard of Pat’s passing. She was a most gentle, sincere, and good spirited person. She was joy to work with and be in her company. I looked forward to seeing her each July at our NY ReLeaf Conferences. I enjoyed our September phone conversations as we discussed the types of trees she wanted to plant in the Village of Fayetteville. I, and many others, will undoubtedly miss her. I hope she knew how much she meant to so many people.” —Jim Kisker 

Pat, third from right, at Forestry Awareness Day 2014.

“Pat was an advocate for our participation in Forestry Awareness Day with the Council of Forest Resource Organizations (CFRO) and so brought urban forestry into the larger New York State forestry picture. Pat’s leadership was essential.” —Andy Hillman

“Pat was one of the first members to welcome me to the Board. Her smile and diligent work for the Council and her community were always an inspiration to me. She was a wonderful friend and I’m very sad to learn of her passing.” —Tim Chick

“I had the pleasure and honor of working with Pat on programs and projects for many years. One of the kindest souls, whom I will miss terribly.” —Muriel Church

“I had reached out to Pat about two weeks before she passed away on my way through town to offer a coffee clatch to her and the gals. She told me … she would like to remain settled in at home that day. What a lovely person she was and will continue to be on her trip with the holy spirit to heaven. I will miss her.” —Mary Kramarchyk

“From my heart, goodbye, my friend. Thanks and farewell to the best person I have known!” —Betty Shimo

“I am saddened to learn of the death of Pat Tobin, a long-time colleague and a real stalwart of the NYS Urban Forestry Council. Pat and her friends/colleagues from Fayetteville ably demonstrated one of the important components of urban forestry—the dedicated volunteers who were so important to the grassroots of the partnerships that we have seen in New York State. I will long remember her kind personality and her love of trees.”—Nancy Wolf

“Pat’s passion for the environment was inspiring. She thought nothing of a two-hour round trip on a Saturday to discuss lobbying on behalf of the Council. For Pat, there was no better way to spend the weekend than working on behalf of others and the planet.” —Chris Anderson

“Pat was a dedicated advocate for trees everywhere, but most importantly to her Village of Fayetteville. After the ‘98 Labor Day storm destroyed hundreds of trees, Pat used it as an opportunity rather than a disaster to help start smarter tree plantings with diversity and right tree/right place. Her smile, dedication, and love of all God’s creations will be missed.” —Brian Skinner

Pat with NYSDEC Forester Garrett Koplun at ReLeaf 2015 at SUNY ESF.

“So sorry to hear this news. I will miss seeing Pat at our annual conferences. I enjoyed her company and positive attitude. Pat was the first person who welcomed me into the Council years ago and was an friendly ambassador. My condolences and prayers to her family and friends. She will be sorely missed.” —Paul DiPietro 

Pat (second from left) at the 2018 Skidmore ReLeaf Conference.

“As a graduate student in 1999, I attended my first ReLeaf Conference (Buffalo). I was quite nervous entering a new community of folks for the first time. Pat was staffing the check-in table and gave me the biggest, most welcoming smilewith that signature gleam in her eye. I’ll always remember how she put me at ease at that pivotal moment that I first interacted with the Council.

Another, more recent memory is of wandering around her good friend Dianne’s garden together last fall. Pat, Dianne, and I got very silly for some reason that day and when I transcribed the interview with Dianne, I heard the three of us laughing the whole way through. Pat could be so much fun and never lost her playful sense of humor.” —Michelle Sutton

Pat with her friend and Council of Forest Resource Organizations colleague, Muriel Church.

“I am saddened to learn of Pat’s passing. She was a strong advocate for urban and community trees and a lovely person.” —Barb Neal 

Rest in Peace, Dear Pat.

One thought on “A Tribute to Our Friend Pat Tobin

  1. A beautiful, gentle soul who was passionate about trees and did so much to foster community forestry not only in her own community but throughout the state. Rest In Peace dear Pat.

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