In memoriam: Tom Howe

On Jan. 26, a tragic accident took the life of one of New Hampshire's most passionate conservationists and our very good friend, Tom Howe.

By Sylvia Bates February 1, 2021

Tom was the senior director of land conservation at the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests. Over his 25-year career with the Society, he helped protect thousands of acres, including his family's own 26 acres of farm and forest land. He was a founding director and board member of the Gilmanton Land Trust in his hometown. Tom put his keen mind and determined spirit to his work, and his legacy is written in the New Hampshire landscape. Caring, empathetic, always leading by example, he was a mentor to many, especially the younger staff at the Society.

Respected by his peers nationally, the Land Trust Alliance frequently benefited from Tom's deep knowledge and expertise. We are grateful for his numerous contributions to Rally workshops, webinars and discussion forums. He gleefully enjoyed digging into the nuances of the tax code, qualified appraisals and IRS Form 8283 with colleagues. He offered us solid advice and counsel on the Land Trust Standards and Practices.

Tom was also an ardent fly fisherman, hunter and outdoorsman — his freezer always full of waterfowl, turkey and venison. He loved skating on the black ice of Squam Lake in winter and hiking in the White Mountains with his family in summer. He enjoyed music, singing in a community chorus, cutting cordwood and quiet times around a campfire with friends.

At the time of his death, Tom was doing what he often could be found doing: helping a friend. We will miss his generous spirit, kind heart and sheer goodness. He was one of the finest people we have ever known. We take solace in what he leaves behind: a legacy of protected land and a new generation of conservationists to follow in his footsteps.