Marion B. Leonard
Marion B. Leonard, of Rochester, Vt., a lifelong advocate for the Earth, peace, healthy food and environmental sustainability, died on August 14 at Gifford Hospital in Randolph, Vt. after suffering a fall at the age of 100.
Marion Boettiger Leonard was born in New York City on May 24, 1909, the daughter of Dr. Carl Boettiger, a physician, and Alice Banker Boettiger of Plattsburgh, NY. Mrs. Leonard grew up in Forest Hills, NY attending local grammar schools before graduating from Penn Hall preparatory school in Chambersburg, Pa and Pembroke College, then the sister college to Brown University in Providence, RI, in 1931. She met her future husband, Warren, while at college. Marion and Warren were married in Seattle, Washington and after Mr. Leonard lost his job during the Depression they drove back east to Providence, RI. During the trip they saw first hand the devastating collapse of our economic system and its effect on working people.
Mrs. Leonard felt that a different type of education could secure a just and healthy planet for all humankind. In 1934 she attended a lecture in Providence and heard about a new school being formed in Putney, Vt. by a protégé of John Dewey, Carmelita Hinton. In 1939 Warren and Marion moved to Vermont and joined the staff of the Putney School where Mrs. Leonard worked as a librarian. In 1941, along with Carol Brown, Mrs. Leonard was a founding member of the Putney Co-op, acknowledged as being one of the oldest food co-operatives in the country. She enjoyed the exciting process of education at a school where work, jobs, art and music were as important as English and mathematics. They remained in Putney for 17 years.
In 1956 Warren and Marion were hired as headmaster and librarian at the Storm King School in Cornwall-on-Hudson, NY. In 1962 Con Edison, the electrical utility for New York City, proposed to build a power generating facility that would have destroyed much of the environment of Storm King Mountain. Mrs. Leonard teamed up with attorney Stephen Duggan, then president of the board of trustees of the Storm King School, to fight Con Edison and its proposed facility. After a 17-year legal battle, a U. S. Court of Appeals decided that protection of environmental resources was as important as economic gain and the facility was never built. Stephen Duggan became the founding chairman of the Natural Resources Defense Council, the organization that grew out of this initial environmental battle. The Con Edison legal case is considered to have launched environmental activism in the United States and has prompted the passing of the National Environmental Policy Act. This legislation requires an environmental impact statement for major projects approved by the federal government.
In 1966 Mr. Leonard became the first director of the Hampton Day School, a new progressive private school in Bridgehampton. Mrs. Leonard was enthusiastic to return to Long Island, her childhood home, and worked to create a library for the new school. After five years Mr. Leonard was offered a one year sabbatical in Rome, Italy at St. Stephens School. One year turned into nearly a decade and sparked Mrs. Leonard’s love affair with Italy and traveling in Europe. Returning to eastern Long Island she was horrified by the overdevelopment of the once pristine farmland. She was also confronted with another potential environmental disaster, the Long Island Power Authority‘s desire to build a nuclear power plant in Shoreham, NY. This prompted Mrs. Leonard to co-found the environmental organization Save Our World to fight the plant. The Shoreham power plant was built but never went online. Having more time to devote to her projects, Mrs. Leonard formed a letter writing group to address local as well as national issues. She believed that the foundation of democracy resided in the people and she frequently called her representatives in Washington to inform them of her opinion on political issues. Save Our World sponsored the largest environmental conference until that time featuring Miriam McGillis a Dominican nun and founder of the Earth learning center Genesis Farm, and an interpreter of theologian Thomas Berry. A growing concern for the environment and her dislike of consumption and the degradation of Long Island led Marion to return with her husband to the beloved hills of Vermont.
In 1997 Marion and Warren discovered Rochester, Vt. and moved into Park House, a senior residential housing facility. Mrs. Leonard’s environmental concerns were reenergized by the like-minded people she met in Vermont and she soon found herself back on the track of environmental activism. She founded Save Our World-VT as an offshoot of her Long Island organization and it thrived. Her organization sponsored teach-ins, environmental seminars in local libraries and schools, video presentations and a lecture series. She became known throughout the state as the woman who wrote more letters to the editor than anyone else on many topics but mostly centering on environmental and political issues. Weekly she also called her representatives in Washington and the White House. “I think it is important in a democracy to be part of the community . . . the only way to do that is to communicate with your representatives,” she said. “You elect people to represent you, but you have no guarantee that they will represent the choices that you want made. So you have to keep your eye on them.” One of her letters printed in the Randolph Herald following 9/11 regarding the displaying of the American flag occasioned such a backlash that the paper ran an editorial supporting that the right to freely express her views was one of the founding principles of our democracy.
Marion and Warren took many trips attending conferences and visited libraries throughout the state to give them an Earth literacy reading list entitled A Collection of Educational Material to Help Institute a New Cosmology for the Twenty-First Centruy. They also accumulated postal stamps from local post offices to add to her list of the 251 Club. Mrs. Leonard was active in the Rochester community attending the select board meetings, talking to community members, establishing a collection of environmental advocacy literature for the library, creating a vegetable garden at the school, and building a year round greenhouse in memory of her husband Warren so that students could have fresh vegetables all year long. Among her many citations and awards she was most proud to have been named Person of the Year by the National Organic Farmers Association of Vermont at the age of 96.
Mrs. Leonard is survived by her two sons, William of New York, N.Y. and Christopher of Sag Harbor, and her brother Edward of Rochester, VT.
She had numerous friends in the Rochester community whose support and friendship were a source of energy and delight to her. Donations in lieu of flowers may be sent to People for the Planet, P O Box 83, Rochester, VT., 05767.
Dr. Robert Kennedy
Robert R. Kennedy, M.D., formerly of Sag Harbor, passed away on May 29, 2009. Born in Brooklyn, NY in 1920, and after serving as a naval officer in World War II, he began his medical practice in Sag Harbor in 1948 where he remained until joining the Old Town Medical Center in Southampton until his retirement in 1985. He graduated from Bishop Laughlin High School in Brooklyn, St. John’s University in Queens, and completed his medical internships at St. Catherine’s Hospital and Long Island College Hospital, both in Brooklyn.
Dr. Kennedy is pre-deceased by his former wife, Florence (Fuller) Kennedy, and his oldest son, Robert, Jr. He leaves behind his sons Edward of Miami, Fla., Kevin of East Granby, Conn., and daughter Maureen of Olney, Md., along with nine grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.
A round of golf always brought him joy and he was a member of the Southampton Golf Club and continued to play during his retirement in Maine. Nothing, however, gave him greater joy than serving his patients in Sag Harbor throughout his almost 40 years of service to these communities, according to the family. Known for his compassionate and caring manner, he developed many friendships on the East End and his legacy will be one of dedication and concern for anyone who required his services, said the family.
John C. Glowacki
John C. Glowacki, a 39-year resident of Sag Harbor, died at his home here on August 18. He was 82.
Born in Poland on November 3, 1926, he was the son of Henry and Marianna (Wisniewski) Glowacki.
Mr. Glowacki, who was a master plumber by trade, served in the US Marines in 1951 and was a member of the Sag Harbor Veterans of Foreign Wars.
He is survived by his wife, the former Louise Lanta Babson, and stepdaughter Nancy Louise Wishone of North Carolina.
His remains were to be donated to science.