Memorial pg 6 12-6-18

trees planted
Memorial trees were planted in honor of Patrick Wood, who died in 2006, at two Pomfret schools in early November. The purple beech trees were donated by former Pomfret resident Charles Stoddard who was taken with Patrick’s story after reading about his sudden death. Patrick was the High Achievement winner at Pomfret Community School in 1997 and valedictorian at Pomfret School in 2001. He graduated from Stanford with distinction in math in 2005 and was working as a programmer at Siemens in Berlin when he committed suicide at age 23.
“He was a talented and accomplished musician,” said Stoddard. “He became fluent in German, and I know from experience how difficult it is to learn to read, wrote, and speak the language, especially in his case coming from a small New England town.” Stoddard was in the first graduating class from Pomfret Community School in 1949 and has studied German,
French, and Latin throughout his life. “We were the ‘49ers, the Gold Miners and we were proud of our new school.”
The tree at Pomfret School was planted near the chapel where Patrick had played in many piano recitals. On a windy fall day, Stoddard explained that the tree was a “memorial to Patrick Wood’s ueberpersonliche, the German word meaning beyond the personal experience of a gifted and talented life.” The dedication included Sydney Dubitsky, Blake Zahansky, Brennan Holmes, and Drew Marshall — four students who had won a merit scholarship in Patrick’s name.
At the Pomfret Community School dedication in the gymnasium, music teacher Ms. March and Principal Susan Imschweiler arranged for seventh and eighth grade students and teachers to be present. The chorus sang “Lost Boy” about a lonely boy who finds friendship with Peter Pan in Neverland. “We were completely overwhelmed that the school would organize such a beautiful ceremony,” said Lisette Rimer, Patrick’s mother. “The chorus sang with a maturity that made us marvel. We cannot thank both schools enough for memories that will stay with us forever.”
Rimer said: “Special thanks go to Louisa Jones and Brenda Bullied from Pomfret School, as well as principal Susan Imschweiler and Tom Lepine from Pomfret Community School for coordinating both tree plantings. Most importantly, thanks goes to Mr. Stoddard for caring about Patrick. It says a lot about the heart of this community. When tragedy strikes, heartfelt gestures like his keep you going.” Stoddard planted the trees at both schools and ended each dedication by saying that we cast our memories of Patrick “to the realm of ages.”


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