Thomas “Tom” Worthington Offutt III of Mentor, Ohio passed on Tuesday, Sept 14.
Born on January 17, 1933, to Thomas W. Offutt, Jr. and Josephine Bentley Offutt of Owings Mills, Maryland. Tom grew up outside of Baltimore and earned a degree in English from The Johns Hopkins University in 1955.
Tom loved people and to entertain them with his stories. Some of his favorites came from his time working with animals at the Baltimore zoo and later the Cleveland Museum of Natural History. The nucleus of other stories was derived from his many experiences, interactions, and travels.
His passion for the outdoors and the natural world started as a young boy. Tommy loved Ambrose who ran the family farm and spent as much time as possible helping him. Later he spent summers at Hyde Bay Camp. His time duck hunting and fishing with his lifelong friends from The Gilman School sparked his interest in conservation and preservation of the natural world. Interestingly, his roommate at Portsmouth Abbey School was William Ruckelshaus who later headed up the EPA.
While working at The Bankers Trust Company in New York City, his colleague and future brother-in-law, introduced him to the love of his life, Madeleine “Molly” McMillan. Molly shared his love for the outdoors, literature and education. They married in 1962 and honeymooned on a canoe trip to the Boundary Waters. In 1966 they moved to Ohio and Tom changed careers -- connecting people to nature through environmental education (at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History and then at the Institute for Environmental Education). Tom ended his career at the Trust for Public Land creating both urban and rural parks. He also served on the boards of the Yellowstone Foundation, The Yellowstone Institute, the Ohio chapter of the Nature Conservancy, and Lake View Cemetery.
Tom and Molly’s greatest joy was raising their three children: Katherine “Kate” of Bratenhal, Ohio, Thomas “Tucker” (Hanneke Bouwmeester) of Jackson, Wyoming, and Grace (Edmund “Ted” Polubinski) of New York, New York. He was regularly on the sidelines of sporting events cheering on his children and their teammates. Tom had five grandchildren: Madeleine “Maddie” Fresco, Thomas “Tom” W. Offutt V, Brent Offutt, Madeleine Polubinski and Elizabeth Polubinski. Molly pre-deceased Tom in 1999 when cancer cut her life short.
His life celebrated travel, discovery, the natural world, art, and literature. He was an avid angler, ornithologist, photographer, book collector, and conservationist. His passion for collecting books culminated in his serving as president of the Rowfant Club. Fishing and birdwatching took him to every continent but Antartica. On a memorable snorkel off a Galapagos Island, he saw 4 of the 5 classes of phylum chondronta: Reptilia (turtles), Fish, Birds (penguins), and Mammalia (sea lions). As his health waned, he spent hours at the computer converting old slides to digital and working on his books. He was surrounded with photographs and memories of those he loved.
Tom’s three siblings Josephine “Jody” Millspaugh, R. Bentley Offutt (Ann), and James “Jimmy”(Bardelle) Offutt all survive him. He will be fondly remembered by his many nieces and nephews.
In lieu of flowers donations can be made to Yellowstone Forever (https://www.yellowstone.org/), The Trust For Public Land (https://www.tpl.org/), or to the Cleveland Museum of Natural History (www.cmnh.org).
A private family memorial service will be publicly live streamed on Saturday, October 23 at 3:30 PM. Friends may view the service by clicking on the live stream button at the bottom of this webpage.