From the Chagrin Valley Times
Posted: Wednesday, November 18, 2015 11:45 pm | Updated: 1:14 pm, Thu Nov 19, 2015.
By RYAN DENTSCHEFF
GATES MILLS — A crowd of about 50 people gathered Saturday for the dedication of a red oak tree in memory of the late Thomas Quintrell, founder and former president of the Gates Mills Land Conservancy.
Mr. Quintrell, 94 when he passed away on March 3, held a number of positions. He was incorporator of the Chagrin River Watershed Partners, where he served as a director and secretary. For the Grand River Partners, he served as secretary. He was also president and director of the Ohio League of Conservation Voters Education Fund and was on the Ohio Advisory Committee for the Trust for Public Land.
He dedicated his life to conserving the land and helping others, Chagrin River Watershed Partners President Greg Studen said at the ceremony.
“It’s wonderful to see such a large and diverse crowd of people who I know Tom had involvement with during his long and fruitful life,” Mr. Studen said. “It’s great that we’re all here and able to honor him and celebrate the values and commitment he did during his life.
“We’re here because of his life, because we want what he did. All these people here came together and we’re trying to share in that common vision and apply the knowledge we have to improve the goals Tom worked so hard on.”
Mr. Quintrell was instrumental in the establishment of the watershed partners in 1996, Mr. Studen added. He was the person who devised the structure of the watershed partners where the member communities donate dues and form the board of directors.
“This is unique in the state of Ohio,” Mr. Studen said. “He appreciated the importance of preserving this valley and combined his skill and knowledge with that and that’s what’s inspiring about his life to me. I just consider it a great privilege to work with him.”
The memorial tree currently stands about 10 feet tall next to the Gates Mills Historical Society on Old Mill Road. A commemorative plaque rests at its base.
Mr. Quintrell served as a captain in World War II and was awarded the Bronze Star. He attended University School, Princeton University and Harvard Law School and moved to Gates Mills in 1979 with his wife, Ella, who, along with their four children, was in attendance at the ceremony.
He founded the land conservancy in 1988 and was involved in its initial conservation effort which included the Soltz Woods, a 14-acre donation, and a 3-acre parcel purchased along the Chagrin River. He served on the board of directors ever since the organization’s conception and continued to play a key role helping preserve more than 670 acres. The most recent project, finalized in August, was the 92-acre Sherman Road Preserve located on County Line and Sherman roads.
Honorary Director of the Gates Mills Land Conservancy Tom Liederbach, who also spoke at the ceremony, commended Mr. Quintrell’s dedication to the conservancy and the effort to get it accredited through the Land Trust Alliance, a national leader in a network of about 1,200 local conservation organizations.
The conservancy earned the National Land Trust Excellence Award for its hard work and dedication in preserving the village, which is done through conservation easements, deed restrictions, and village property ownership.
In 2013, the nonprofit organization became the third land trust and the first all-volunteer trust in Ohio to be accredited by the Land Trust Accreditation Commission.
“Here’s to Tom Quintrell, founding father of our land conservancy whose enthusiasm for the conservancy mission never waned after 27 years,” Mr. Liederbach said standing next to the tree on the windy and crisp afternoon. “His enthusiasm affected all of us working with and for him.
“He commanded a wonderful view from his house up on (County Line Road) but I’m sure that today he commands an even more spectacular view as he smiles down on the objects of his affection; his family and this valley.
“Finally, here’s to Tom Quintrell, a gentleman. God has blessed us for having known him.”