|The Poquessing Pathfinder Online|
|The Friends of Poquessing Watershed Inc. of Philadelphia and Bucks County|
|Dedicated to the Conservation and Beautification of the Poquessing Creek and Its Environs|
|P.O. Box 11552||Email: FriendsofPoquessing@usa.net||Spring/Summer 2003 Volume 13 Issue 1|
|Philadelphia, PA 19116||Phone: (215) 972-6275||Fax: (215) 632-2549|
THE PRESIDENT’S CORNER Dianne Retzback
A founding member and past president of FOPW. Founder of FOPW Townwatch. WWII Veteran. Steadfast defender of Benjamin Rush State Park and all natural and open spaces. Advocate of the history of the Rush family and the vanishing history of far Northeast Philadelphia. We know these achievements and more about Henry. But I would like to tell you about Henry from a personal perspective. Henry became my teacher because from 1992-1995 I traveled with him to meetings at EPA, DEP, Fairmount Park Commission, Zoning, PDHC, Bucks County environmental associations, etc, etc. Believe me I got my lessons! Because Henry was not given to speaking much about himself, I learned more from the things he didn’t say than from much he did say. We all are formed by what early on is engraved in our hearts. Henry and I shared a passion for quiet wooded spaces and clear running water as our way to escape loss and loneliness. We both had parents who died when we were quite young; and we both found the trees and woods our places to go to for solace.
Henry was raised in Burholme. As a young boy, he biked through Pennypack and Somerton when farms were what comprised most of the far Northeast. He served in WWII, went to work for the telephone company, and married Rosemary Ranini. In 1950, he bought a lot on Trevose Road and with Rosemary’s dad, built his “home in the country”. Behind Henry’s home was a farm. His daughters have often spoken of the sheep and animals they lovingly remember as part of their early life.
As Henry’s children and grandchildren became realities in his life, his zeal for open space and historical preservation became even more intense. What he wanted for those who came after him - and for all who came after us - was to have an awareness and a choice for a quality of life.
As development continued, Henry saw more and more farms and historic open spaces being lost - carelessly and poorly planned. Certainly he realized that progress was necessary; but bad planning without the input of the community should not have to be part of that progress. His fervor to keep a quality of life intensified.
The rest is legend. Henry became an intense civic activist and worked with other compassionate activists in the community to try to give us all a voice. His avocation became more than a fulltime job. In 1995 Henry announced that he could no longer be FOPW president. He realized that the pressures of his dreams for Poquessing Watershed and Benjamin Rush Park were overwhelming. He was 70, not in the best of health, had home obligations and a family to spend time with and enjoy.
And speaking of Henry’s family, FOPW cannot say enough about their support and participation. For years, all of
them helped keep FOPW active and alive.
Unfortunately, many of you know, Henry’s health continued to decline. Henry suffered from colon cancer and
pulmonary fibrosis - and his family was again there with him for love and support.
We continue to extend our profound thanks and sympathy to Rosemary, and daughters Eileen Brown, Kathleen
Gibboni, Sharon Love and Rosemary Washburn and all the grandchildren.
As daughter Kathleen has told me, “ He was my hero”.
May Henry rest in peace.
FROM FRIENDS OF PHILADELPHIA PARKS
Call for Park Supporters to Speak with One Voice
WHAT YOU CAN DO:
1. Write or fax Mayor Street and your District and At-Large Council Members
- identify yourself, your address & community
- write why parks are important to you & your community
- Or use www.hallwatch.org to send your fax
2. Attend City Council Budget hearing on Monday March 3, 2003 at 9:30 AM in Courtroom 696, City Hall
Wear green and carry signs!
WHAT TO ASK FOR:
- Funding for Phase 2 of the Strategic Plan for Phila Parks
- A grant researcher/writer for Fairmount Park Commission
- Increases in hourly wages, hours worked per week, & number of positions for seasonal maintenance attendants in Dept of Recreation Parks. Guarantee their continued funding
- Please also thank Mayor Street and City Council for their support of the Strategic Planning Process for Philadelphia’s parks.
Estuary Grant Awarded
Suzanne Zlotnick, Vice President of Education
The Partnership for the Delaware Estuary recently awarded grants for habitat restoration this year. The William H. Loesche Elementary School received one of these grants in the amount of $3,000 in partnership with the Friends of Poquessing Watershed. This grant award will allow us to continue our “Mad About Meadows” project located on Tomlinson Rd., behind the Somerton Water Tanks, in partnership with the
Philadelphia Water Department. The grant funding will also be used for the “Gardening Gurus” project on the grounds of the Loesche School.
Both habitat restorations will provide the children with valuable learning experiences! (Shhh! Don’t tell anyone but they may have fun while they are learning!) Stay tuned for updates!
Glen Foerd Tour
Jo Edwards, Vice President Ways and Means
Our trip to Glen Foerd planned for January 22, 2003 was postponed due to a conflict of dates. It will be re-scheduled
for late Spring. A tour of Glen Foerd mansion is always interesting, informative, and relaxing so plan to join us. Watch
future newsletters for more details.
Stone Arch Bridges on the Poquessing
Donna Remick, Vice President