Town officials and residents of Charlotte are wrestling with ways to remember Marty Illick and Terrence Dinnan.
“I’m just trying to come to terms with how big of a loss this is for our community,” selectboard chair Matt Krasnow said at a special meeting of the board on Wednesday, April 20.
The couple, who were found dead in Lewis Creek on April 18 after their boat apparently capsized, had a big impact on their town and the state.
About 50 people attended the virtual meeting, called to discuss the town’s response to the tragedy.
Board member Louise McCarren had drafted a resolution honoring the couple. It was modified then unanimously approved.
There is also an initiative to have the couple honored by the Legislature, according to town administrator Dean Bloch.
In a phone call, Rep. Mike Yantachka, of Charlotte, said there are plans for a resolution to be read in both the House and Senate.
“There are a number of legislators who want to be cosponsors of that bill,” Yantachka said.
Remembering a friend
Before Mike Kline retired as Rivers Program Manager in the Department of Environmental Conservation’s Watershed Management Division, he said the Lewis Creek Association, which Illick helped found with her friend Andrea Morgante, was one of the first of 20 watershed associations in Vermont. It pioneered the process of tackling stream issues on a watershed basis instead of piecemeal town by town.
Lewis Creek Association projects have attracted notice beyond Vermont, in one case getting press in Australia.
Charlotte’s resolution mentioned the many boards and commissions Illick served on over the years, including Charlotte’s selectboard, planning commission and land trust and the Chittenden County Regional Planning Commission.
“Marty’s conservation and public service contributions are legendary within the Lake Champlain basin and rippling out well beyond,” the resolution said.
Planning commission chair Peter Joslin said Illick’s impact was very broad.
In a recent email, Illick told Joslin, “I just love this tiny little state.”
He said the phrase keeps coming back into his mind.
Charlotte resident Robin Reid said the deaths were hard for her to process. “It’s just too weird. It’s like keep Vermont weird – but not like this.”
For McCarren, the tragedy seems to be calling for the community to gather. She suggested having a gathering on the porch of the Charlotte Library to remember the couple.
As of press time library director Margaret Woodruff said she didn’t know when that would be, since organizers want to have the event when it works best for the family.
Charlotte’s resolution honoring Marty Illick and Terry Dinnan
By this resolution, the Charlotte Selectboard honors two residents: Martha Illick and Terrence Dinnan. Both Terry and Marty were tireless and ardent protectors of the environment, which was demonstrated and embodied in many facets of their lives. Marty was also an inspiration and mentor to many others.
Terry, a stone-worker and sculptor, donated a portion of the sale of his quarry in Essex, NY to the Essex Quarry Nature Park.
Marty’s conservation and public service contributions are legendary within the Lake Champlain basin and rippling out well beyond. Her endless efforts include founding the Lewis Creek Association, serving on the Charlotte Selectboard, the Charlotte Land Trust, the Charlotte Planning Commission, and the Chittenden County Regional Planning Commission, and partnering with other organizations to create the Charlotte Park & Wildlife Refuge, Ahead of the Storm demonstration projects, Charlotte Invasive Collaborative, among many others.
We thank them and, as they would have, urge members of the broader community to find ways large and small to advance conservation as a way to honor the passion and public service for which we will remember Marty and Terry.