Land Trust & Library Receive Largest Bequest Ever

Curtis Memorial Library (CML) and Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust (BTLT) each recently received significant bequests from the estate of long-time Brunswick resident, Wallace Pinfold, who passed away on November 1, 2021. These gifts – the largest in the history of both organizations – will enhance the endowments of both CML and BTLT for the benefit of the communities each serves for generations to come.

Wallace Pinfold was a remarkable individual. A gifted French language interpreter and translator, Wallace was a Peace Corps volunteer in Togo, a ranger naturalist in Yosemite, and a gardener in greater Brunswick. He authored one book, co-authored another, and traveled to far-flung destinations around the world, collecting ceramics, paintings, and photographs along the way. He was a brilliant conversationalist with rare listening skills. “I had the great pleasure of working with Wallace a few years ago to design a small perennial garden in a space in my yard created by the removal of a tree,” recalls BTLT Board President Emily Swan. “Wallace’s wide-ranging and on-point observations during our search for plants and rambles through the garden transformed what might have been an otherwise mundane experience into an
entertaining and educational adventure. And I have never met anyone with more impeccable manners.”

 

Pinfold volunteering at the Curtis Friends Annual Book Sale (2016)

“We had the great pleasure of knowing and working with Wallace Pinfold for over 25 years. As a gardener, author and voracious reader, Wallace’s gifts to the library took many forms,” shared Curtis’ Executive Director Elisabeth Doucett. When the new library building opened in 1999 and the Village Improvement Association (VIA) financed the construction of the Reading Garden, VIA member Wallace continued to carefully steward this well-loved green space. Serving on Curtis’ Board of Directors from 2012 to 2018, Wallace was a thoughtful fundraiser; never missed working at the Curtis Friends annual book sale; and brought his quick wit, warmth and love of literature to every board meeting, event, and encounter with a fellow reader.

To honor his late mother – a long-time library volunteer – Wallace established the Jean Laidlaw Pinfold Flowers Fund in 2018. Most days, a floral arrangement from Mare Brook Farm graces the library lobby in a favorite vase given by Wallace.

Memorial gifts to the library received at Wallace’s passing were used to restore the gardens surrounding the Middle Street entrance to the library this summer, thanks to the support of many volunteer master gardeners led by Noreen Williams. In addition to native flowers and trees, a variety of Siberian and Japanese irises from the stock of late renowned hybridizer, Currier McEwen of Harpswell, were donated and planted under the guidance of Pinfold family friend, Sharon Whitney of Eartheart Gardens.

Curtis Memorial Library’s Board of Directors have designated a majority of Wallace’s bequest to the library’s endowment fund in support of its long-term health. A portion of the funds will be directed to fund several more immediate projects that align with Wallace’s love of gardening and the library.

Wallace was a member of the Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust for 17 years, where he was motivated by the opportunity to conserve land in his community. Inspired by the environmentalism of his father, local veterinarian Dr. Russel Pinfold, Wallace’s early involvement with BTLT included supporting the conservation of Crystal Spring Farm. “Wallace’s generosity during his lifetime helped us to conserve many of the most special natural areas in our community. His extraordinary bequest will allow us to steward these lands into the future and make sure that we are able to fulfill the commitment we make with each piece of land we conserve,” noted Angela Twitchell, Executive Director, BTLT.

The Board of Directors of the Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust has designated the bulk of Wallace’s bequest to its long-term land stewardship fund. When BTLT conserves a parcel of land, it makes a promise that it will care for the land forever. This commitment extends to maintaining trails and public access, making sure the terms of an easement are honored, removing invasive plants, or promoting a sense of place and a love of the land through education and outreach. Wallace’s bequest will ensure that BTLT’s stewardship endowment will provide funds on an annual basis to support stewardship needs.