The Landis community mourns the loss of Anne Donnelly on October 4, 2023

By Nolan Marciniec

Anne Don­nel­ly was the first of the many friends I’ve made at the Arbore­tum and per­haps the dear­est. It was she who kid­ded me that, once I agreed to chair the Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Com­mit­tee, it would be a slip­pery slope to total com­mit­ment to Lan­dis. The Arbore­tum was a cause she whole­heart­ed­ly believed in, and no one could fail to be per­suad­ed by her unwa­ver­ing sup­port and lead­er­ship. You could say she changed the direc­tion of my life – and enriched it many times over.

She was a bril­liant teacher and a con­sum­mate nat­u­ral­ist, as any­one who took her class­es at SUNY Cobleskill or par­tic­i­pat­ed in her pop­u­lar Drag­on­flies and Dam­selflies” work­shop will attest. She and I used to trade book rec­om­men­da­tions, and although she was wary about ven­tur­ing into the realm of fic­tion (my turf), she loved the poet­ry of Mary Oliv­er. This past year, we read togeth­er from an anthol­o­gy of dai­ly selec­tions from the works of Thoreau.

Anne Donnelly

We had lunch ear­li­er this sum­mer. She brought me a selec­tion of her inno­v­a­tive” home­made jel­lies, includ­ing rhubarb-elder­ber­ry, and an eclec­tic bou­quet of wild­flow­ers and cilantro and walk­ing onion from her garden. 

As I grieve her pass­ing, a quo­ta­tion from the Thore­au anthol­o­gy comes to mind: When it is time to die, let us not dis­cov­er that we nev­er lived.” 

Anne Don­nel­ly — a lov­ing, gen­er­ous, and gra­cious human being — tru­ly lived sev­er­al times over in her life­time. The val­ue of her life is mea­sured by the count­less lives she touched and point­ed – and prod­ded — in the direc­tion of the end­less joy that nature – and human nature – provide.

A Cel­e­bra­tion of Life for Anne Don­nel­ly will be held at the Arboretum’s Meet­ing House on Sun­day, Octo­ber 22, 12 — 4 PM.

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Fall 2023

Volume 41 , Number 3

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