‘Gentleman Warrior’ joins 19 others at Ray Brook arboretum
By Gwendolyn Craig
When the Adirondack Park’s deciduous trees’ leaves turn their autumn hues, a red oak planted in Ray Brook will blaze bright in memory of Frederick Monroe.
The longtime park resident and local government advocate died last year at the age of 76. He was honored on July 14 with a tree dedication at the Adirondack Park Agency’s Forest of Heroes Arboretum. The agency annually inducts people who made great contributions to the park and its communities, said Keith McKeever, APA spokesman.
Monroe was a long-time public servant. For two dozen years he was the town of Chester’s supervisor. He was chairman of the Warren County Board of Supervisors. He was also the executive director of the Adirondack Park Local Government Review Board from 2005 to 2018.
“His passion was driven by a strong desire for people of all perspectives to reach a fair and balanced compromise for Adirondack citizens and visitors,” a description of Monroe in the arboretum honorees reads. “Fred Monroe steadfastly defended Adirondack traditions and culture through his spirited encouragement for reasonable access to the Forest Preserve and the preservation of historic structures. Mr. Monroe’s well-reasoned and passionate speeches swayed many debates and ingrained his reputation as a ‘Gentleman Warrior.’”
More than 50 people attended the ceremony, including Monroe’s wife, Carol. APA Executive Director Barbara Rice said the turnout was a testament to Monroe’s accomplishments. Rice highlighted his defense of private property rights and his cooperative and collaborative demeanor.
“This is why regardless of what side you were on, everyone respected Fred and learned from him,” Rice said. “Fred was truly a force in the Adirondacks and through his tireless work (made) the Adirondacks a better place to live, work and visit for everyone.”
Monroe joins 19 others honored at the arboretum, including the conservationist Greenleaf “Greenie” Chase, ranger Clarence Petty, author and APA board member Anne LaBastille and most recently Thomas Saehrig, a senior APA staff member. The trees surround the APA’s headquarters.
Fred was the truest of gentlemen and it was a pleasure to get to know him. He introduced me to the wonders of the Adirondacks and he eventually found my piece of heaven during his stint as a realtor for his family’s company. It seemed that EVERYONE knew Fred and not a soul ever had a bad thing to say. As a matter of fact, declaring Fred as a friend gave me instant acceptance to the communities here. I recall emailing Fred at one point to teasingly tell him that “I met a guy in Glens Falls who said he didn’t know you!” He replied in his typical witty good humor and that smile he gave me then still sits with me today. He will be sorrily missed as he kept up the good fight for the people of this area.
Tom Monroe, the late DEC region 5 commissioner should get a tree here as well.