February 12, 1963 – Ed Clements (TNC) to Herbert S. Keys (St. Petersburg, Fla.)
Your kind letter enclosing a contribution in John’s memory was received. Eastern New York Chapter will decide on a suitable memorial for such funds. It may be a plaque or it could be placed in the Dome Island endowment fund.
While most of us were aware of John’s failing health it was a shock to hear of his death. Last October a motorist leaving a Schenectady parking lot hit John and shook him up quite a bit. Staying a short while in Ellis hospital he got himself released after he said he felt well enough to go home. John was never one to go to doctors. Jim said his breathing got very bad and the doctor was able to get John to rest and got his breathing back to normal. I visited John Christmas morning and he seemed pretty good although tired. He then got real bad again and consented to going back to the hospital where he died. The autopsy showed that his lungs were two thirds full of water.
A memorial service is being planned at a later date something like we had for Alvin Whitney.
I can well understand how you and your sister will miss him. Our local papers ran articles on his conservation work but only his close associates would ever know how much he did to fight for natural area preservation. How he loved all that grew and lived in the woods. Our last Trustees’ meeting at Bob Rienow’s house before John’s death was taken up almost entirely with the topic of his Lake George property. John wanted us to preserve it but never set a price and it was difficult for us to get the project started.
Let us pray that his memory will always remind us of the ever present threat to our wilderness areas and that we who remain will carry on the good fight. Thank you for inviting me to visit you folks at Lake George. Perhaps we shall see you next summer. Good health and happiness to you and your lovely sister.