Remembering Dennis

All of us here at the Land Trust have a different story about our dear friend and extraordinary Volunteer Coordinator Dennis Conner who recently passed away. But whether from staff, board members or volunteers, what the stories have in common describe Dennis’ generosity, his boundless energy, his big-heartedness and his devotion to the natural environment. His enthusiasm was irresistible and after a day working with Dennis you just felt good. 

What’s the Point with Dennis Connor

Dennis loved people and it showed. He loved to find out about people and introduce them to the Land Trust’s mission. He especially enjoyed tabling at the What’s the Point? event at Point Whitehorn Marine Reserve. He captivated people with stories and his infectious personality left them beaming. 

When Dennis set his mind to a project it got done! No project was too big or too small, whether constructing the shed for our Stewardship tools, or arranging a new roof and solar panels for our building. If you wanted something done, Dennis was your man. And he always did it with a smile on his face.

Dennis Conner and his wife Terry at the building dedication in February 2020

In February of this year we dedicated our building to Dennis with a plaque to honor him for all his hard work and commitment to the Land Trust, and to show our admiration and respect for a dear friend and colleague that left us far too soon. 

“I first met Dennis in 2001 when I began working with him at Whatcom County Parks. His enthusiasm, commitment to parks and conservation, and deep caring for those he interacted with never waned during our ten years together.  Dennis approached the work he loved like he did a walk through Hovander Park- fast forward with eyes and ears open to the world around him. When he thought about retirement from Parks, he envisioned a part-time job at Whatcom Land Trust, an organization he had long supported. In 2015 we both walked in the Land Trust door- me as a new Board member and Dennis as the new Volunteer Coordinator, a position ideally suited to him and that he embraced with his usual exuberance. Volunteer participation spiraled up, projects got completed, and the community was strengthened. The spark he lit will continue to brighten up our world.”

Lynne Givler, Friend and Whatcom Land Trust Board Member

“When it was time for Dennis to go, fortunately, only his body left.  His indomitable spirit, his generosity and kindness, his devotion to our community and the natural environment, his smile, his laughter and the twinkle in his eyes lives on in the hearts of all of us fortunate enough to know him. We are all beneficiaries of a life so well lived. The challenge that Dennis leaves behind is for all of us to emulate him in our own ways. These thoughts mediate our sadness.”

Rand Jack, Friend and Whatcom Land Trust Board Member

“On my first day working at the Land Trust, enjoying the wildlife outside my picture window, I walk into the kitchen and see a huge bag of peanuts-in-the-shell. I think, “squirrels + peanuts = hours of enjoyment”, and so I spread some love on the lawn. (How could I have known then how Dennis felt about both squirrels and peanuts?) I think we all have a Dennis story that typifies his kind heartedness, positive can-do spirit, and ways he brought out the best in people and made you feel special.  I didn’t feed the squirrels again, but I still enjoy their antics out the window. And when I do, I hear Dennis’ bustling footsteps running up and down the stairs, and I hear his laughter and stories working with the Wednesday crew of Marshall, Tom, and others on a building improvement project. He poured his love for life in everything and everyone. I will miss you Dennis!”

Jill Clark, friend and Land Trust colleague

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