Nature calendar honors Delmont man’s memory, will benefit borough library
Tom Washburn from Delmont loved the beauty of nature. He traveled to Wyoming, Alaska and other places in the west not only to pursue his passion for fly fishing, but also to enjoy the sights and sounds of nature.
He captured a lot of it on his camera – much more than his daughter expected.
“When he passed away unexpectedly in September, we began searching his computer,” said Amanda Jane List of Delmont.
“I knew he took photos because he posted them on Facebook, but we found more than 6,800 of them.”
The laptop is now in List’s kitchen, looping the photos, and some of them are part of a calendar that’s being sold to benefit the Delmont Public Library.
“In lieu of flowers at his funeral, we asked for donations to be made to the library in memory of my father,” List said.
Washburn was a former elementary school counselor at the North Star School District in Somerset County and majored in English Literature in college.
“Whenever donations came in, Denni Grassel from the library would approach me and say, ‘How about a calendar?’ ‘ List said.
“We were trying to find a good way to honor his memory and I thought it would be a great way to share these images with everyone,” Grassel said.
“The Washburn family was a real leader and so generous.”
And while the funeral donations were used to support the general library, Grassel suggested the calendar sales could benefit something specific: a spring youth fisherman program.
“That sounded fantastic because fishing was his favorite pastime,” List said.
Several of Washburn’s friends have also pitched in, she said, with one helping fund the printing costs so 100% of calendar sales benefit library programming, and another volunteering to help organize the fishing program.
From butterflies and flowers to birds in flight, the calendar consists primarily of images Washburn captured while walking the Westmoreland Nature Trail.
“On our last trip we went to Elk County and he took pictures of the elk,” his widow Glenda said. “He was just always trying to capture something on camera.”
List said her favorite photo was the very first in January, a shot of small ice ovals forming around stream vegetation.
She said the process of creating the calendar was a healing experience.
“I think it’s probably a helpful way to process the grief,” she said.
The 2023 calendar is available for $10. Copies can be found at the Delmont Public Library at 75 School St.
Patrick Varine is a contributor to Tribune-Review. You can contact Patrick via email at [email protected] or via Twitter .