Remembering Long-Time Staff Trish Churchill and Mary Beth Robinson

We note sad recent passings of former colleagues.

Dave Anderson | November 18, 2020

Oh dear - what a year...

President Jack Savage shared "It has been a year in which we have lost far too many long-time friends of the Forest Society. We learned yesterday that Mary Beth Robinson, a decades-long employee, passed away earlier this week." 

Just two weeks earlier, we learned that our former colleague Trish Churchill had also passed away.

Mary Beth Robinson portrait
Mary Beth Robinson portrait.

Mary Beth Robinson began work at The Forest Society in December 1972 and retired May 7, 2008: 35 years. In her early days on the staff, Mary Beth did both finance and personnel work. She remembered working to affix member mailing labels along with Trish Churchill and President Paul Bofinger when staff worked "all hands on deck" to cooperatively to handle mailing out Forest Notes magazine. Mary Beth also maintained the flower box planters in front of the Conservation Center. Her other claims to Forest Society fame included both her unusual hand-packed lunches including sliced onion sandwiches and colorful footwear. The lunchroom table for years included a special yellow wooden chair with painted floral design in honor of the camaraderie of daily lunch breaks hilarity.

Retirement Party Mary Beth in autumn leaf motif
Mary Beth at her retirement party in leaf motif.
Mary Beth’s husband Win Robinson, who was also a dear friend of the Forest Society (and volunteer of the year), died in 2018. They had been married for 67 years. Win was a land steward before there was a land steward program — he was a devoted volunteer for the Forest Society for 40 years. The oft-repeated story was Mary Beth complained Win kept Forest Society trails in perfect manicured condition while her lawn went unmowed and yard work ignored.



Trish Churchill began her work at The Forest Society March 1, 1967 and retired October 3, 2008: 41 years. Trish worked in administrative, support staff roles and expanded her duties to include working as registrar for outreach education events and coordinating Forest Society Volunteer Programs. The Forest Society's annual "Volunteer of the Year" Award is named in her honor.

Trish Churchill in pink top
Trish Churchill at the Conservation Center in 2008.

As Volunteer Coordinator, Trish was a prominent "Face of the Forest Society" greeting members and volunteers in the lobby and sending birthday, anniversary and 'get well' cards to the volunteers who assisted with projects from mailings to landscaping. Trish was beloved for her cheerful encouragement and genuine interest in the wellbeing of the larger Forest Society family of volunteers, staff, trustees and members. Trish understood the power of a smile and personal human connections to accomplish the Forest Society's outreach and volunteers program mission.

Read Trish Churchuill's obituary here.

Reflecting on the recent passings, President Jack Savage added:

"I look forward to the time in the future when we can all gather in person once again to honor our former colleagues and be the Forest Society family of which both Mary Beth and Trish were a devoted and beloved part."