New England Forestry Foundation would like to honor a longtime friend, and integral part of NEFF history, John T. Hemenway. John died at age 92 on December 21, 2016 at his home in Strafford, VT. He is remembered fondly as one of NEFF’s most dedicated and longstanding supporters.
John’s involvement with NEFF began more than 65 years ago, when he was introduced to NEFF’s founder, Harris A. Reynolds, while working in the financial district in Boston. John served as NEFF’s Treasurer, and in 1953, took the helm as Executive Director after Reynolds unexpectedly passed away. He would serve tirelessly in this position for the next 35 years, inaugurating a new and growing phase for NEFF.
John was described by NEFF President Farnham W. Smith in 1972 as “the guiding force of the Foundation.” He was essential in shaping much of NEFF’s early work. At one time during his tenure, there were more than 20 foresters on staff, who served as one of NEFF’s main avenues for promoting the practice of sustainable forest management and helped establish the profession of consulting forestry. He launched the Permanent Fund in 1952, as well as the Annual Giving Program. His leadership and wisdom were fundamental to NEFF’s growth and success.
John’s dedication as Executive Director was principally responsible for attracting donations of forests to the foundation, thus increasing the land base used to demonstrate applied forest management by 11,000 acres. His foresight and guidance have left a living legacy of forestland, providing NEFF with an endowment that perpetually supports the organization financially and provides a springboard for our work to promote sustainable forestry and conserve more forestland.
A true woodsman at heart, his love of the outdoors and commitment to the future is best acknowledged by his acquisition and subsequent conservation of over 1,600 acres of forestland in Vermont.
In 2005, NEFF’s Board of Directors formally recognized John for his extraordinary contributions to the organization. The creation of the Hemenway Conservation Fund was announced in recognition of John’s lifelong passion for the conservation and sustainable management of privately owned forestland throughout New England.
NEFF is honored by John’s trust in our commitment to forever conserve his beloved woodland through conservation easements. John’s core beliefs for NEFF were that a sustainably managed forest is a healthy forest, and that a forest which produces a reasonable and sustainable income is more likely to remain conserved. His lifelong passion and dedication to forest conservation and sustainable management has made and will continue to make a truly momentous impact on the New England landscape. We are so thankful for all that John has given to NEFF and will continue to work tirelessly, as he did, to conserve the forests he loved.