Remembering the Doctor of Our Land
by Jim Daus
When I first met Dr. Tom Steinberg a few years ago, I was just one week into my job as executive director of the Eagle Valley Land Trust, eagerly learning everything I could. Polite, quiet, welcoming and warm, he invited me into his home. Years of civic leadership, good living, and hard work had taken its toll on his 90 year old frame. His beloved wife, Flo, was gone and his eyesight was failing.
Yet, as he explained to me his life story and his involvement in the local open space movement on Vail town council and as the President of the board of directors of the land trust, he physically changed. He became more animated, smiling, joking, explaining the history of past efforts, and clearly advising the course for the future. We chatted for two hours and I felt as if I’d made a new, intimate friend and ally in the effort to conserve our cherished lands. Indeed, this was the imprint Tom left on everyone of the board and staff at the land trust.
We met several more times during the last few years of his life to discuss the status of projects he completed and to strategize about new challenges. When we look around we see Dr. Steinberg’s touch on our landscape, something that will now live on forever thanks to him. Without his leadership, this land trust would not exist today to conserve additional land. With each new deal, his legacy lives on.
The Town of Vail and our entire valley are so very lucky to have had such a tireless supporter of open space. He made an effort to support EVLT up until the end of his life by being an important presence at our Farm to Fork benefit in August and then sitting for an interview for our upcoming informational video, just a few short weeks ago.
As he showed me out of his home back in 2014, Dr. Steinberg was noticing my eagerness to learn. In his calm and thoughtful way, urged me to be patient. “Don’t worry, it’ll take some time to get your bearings here, but you’ll get it and will do the right thing when the time comes for action.”
His calm guidance and assurance will always in the back of my mind as it comes time for action – securing additional lands for the benefit of our community. Farewell Tom. I will miss you as will your entire extended family at the Eagle Valley Land Trust.