Welcome to the memorial page for

Thomas Vanderpoel

February 10, 1951 ~ August 8, 2017 (age 66)
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Message from Tom & Annemarie Benjamin
August 27, 2017 12:39 PM

Like his father Tom was a true and gifted leader in Barrington's conservation community. His knowledge and enthusiasm was infectious among those he inspired to volunteer and work for the restoration of our natural landscape. He will be greatly missed by not only those who knew him, but the prairie as well.
To Gail and family, our sympathy and prayers are with you.
Message from Mike Martinez
August 26, 2017 9:57 PM

Grateful for all that Tom taught me about ecosystem restoration, and land conservation in Lake County. Thanks for your legacy!
Message from Gene and Jeanne Branson
August 23, 2017 9:03 AM

Tom's passion for conservation infected every person and influenced every organization with which he came into contact. Our family is extremely thankful and honored to have known Tom as a friend and mentor.
Message from Suzanne Hanifl
August 18, 2017 12:28 PM

So sad to lose Tom's gentle and massive knowledge and experience. He will be missed by so many in addition to his family. Peace and love.
Message from Trish Beckjord
August 15, 2017 5:50 PM

I didn't work closely with Tom but there was always a reassuring sense that, if I had a question, he would willingly take time to share his vast knowledge. He was a man who clearly loved and deeply understood our natural landscape. We can never replace the depth of knowledge he developed by putting his hands on it, shaping it and caring for it. I have shared Tom's 10 Carex Warriors with many, and hope there are also many who will carry on his work both in his name and for themselves as well. May the land cradle you well, Tom, and help bring a sense of acceptance and peace to your family.

May I share a favorite poem by Wendell Berry that I read at my brother's funeral who also left us suddenly...
When despair grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children's lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting for their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

Bless you all...
gesture butterfly
A candle was lit by Alice K. Ireland on August 15, 2017 2:18 PM
I could send flowers ,but how can they compare to the wealth of beautiful flowers Tom introduced us to in CFC. I looked around my yard today and saw so many I have bought from CFC plant sales. A swallowtail butterfly landed on a butterfly weed .I was thinking maybe that was a message from Tom. I have been a member of CFC since 1987 and I can see Toms legacy all over the Barrington area. Love ALICE I.
Message from Peggy Simonsen
August 14, 2017 8:16 PM

What a loss to the conservation community! Tom's knowledge of native plants and critters was impressive, and his constant learning and testing of new restoration techniques contributed to the success of CFC's properties, as well as to the wider community. My heart goes out to Gail and his family. Your grief will be unbearable for awhile, only eased in time by your wonderful memories.
Message from Candy Quinn
August 14, 2017 2:12 PM

My heart goes out to the Vanderpoel family, with deepest sympathy. Tom had such a wealth of knowledge, that he never hesitated to share enthusiastically. There was no such thing as a "stupid question". He was patient and kind and fun to work with. He cared about the Prairie like it was his own back yard! I can't imagine what we'll do without him.
Message from Tom Burke
August 13, 2017 9:03 AM

Tom was a giant among leaders in the conservation movement. He led by example and his knowledge of even the most obscure plants was amazing. Tom was always there to help and share his knowledge. His friendly and enthusiastic personality inspired generations of young and old volunteers. Tom leaves a void that will be impossible to replace.
candle beige
A candle was lit by Linda Mrowicki on August 12, 2017 6:53 PM
Message from Mary Gaston
August 12, 2017 4:25 PM

Tom was my introduction to what could be accomplished in Conservation. Prior to CFC I did not volunteer I thought you had to know what you were doing to volunteer. Tom made me aware that I could learn what I needed to know. I have since acquired a Naturalist Certification from Morton Arboretum. I volunteer in Elgin but I am still a member of CFC. and it is close to my heart. Tom was a great asset to Conservation in our area. He will be greatly missed..
Message from Maggie Nolan
August 12, 2017 5:29 AM

My deepest sympathies on your great loss of your husband, father, grandfather, brother and whom sounds like an incredible man and gift to so many and to this earth. I am new to Citizens for Conservation and did not yet have the pleasure to meet Mr. Vanderpoel or witness his work in person - unless he is one of the men who assisted me when I fell and broke my foot purchasing plants at the Spring drive. My first experience with CFC and everyone was so very kind to help me and get to the car with my few ornamental grasses and redbud tree - which did get planted and named "Ruthie Jean" for my deceased mother and sister-in-law, who at the time was in hospice. I thank all of the members and the founding fathers and volunteers for CFC who have helped to preserve our natural resources and beauty. Thank you to Tom, his family and all who have helped in the cause. May God be with you during this time of mourning and beyond. He left an incredible legacy and what was an extraordinary life from all that I have seen and read here. May Peace with you all and the many lives that he touched. Maggie Nolan
Message from Michael, Janet, Jessica and Mikey Vanderpoel
August 10, 2017 2:35 PM

Gail and Vanderpoel brothers John, Bill, Jim and Mark, we wish our deepest condolences to all of you. We all loved Tom ad he was a truly unique person and Like a brother and friend to me as well as my father. Tom did so much for conservation and we will always remember him.
Message from Cathy Bayer
August 11, 2017 8:06 PM

Tom was a wonderful man who helped many people learn about the natural world. He helped our daughter, Ali earn her Gurl Scout Gold Award and our son Matt earn his Boy Scout Eagle Award. He will be greatly missed by all whose lives he touched.
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