Bill Tobin (click for larger version)
January 09, 2019SANBORNTON – On Wednesday, Jan 2, word spread quickly of the passing of Bill Tobin, and comments and condolences about the man who did so much for not just his community, but his state and country, came pouring in.
Over the years, Tobin served his country through both the Army and Air Force as a pilot and air traffic controller. Later he served as a Sanbornton Selectman, took part in many committees and boards, and most recently was the town's Health Officer. He was chairman of the Belknap County Republican Committee at one time, served as a New Hampshire State Representative, and in 2008 made a run for the New Hampshire State Senate.
To show his love for the state, several years ago he built a large parade float depicting the Seal of the State of New Hampshire that was a popular entry in parades across the state each year.
Throughout his life, Tobin was also a talented auctioneer, a building inspector, and together, he and his wife Faith owned Waterloom Inspections for more than 30 years.
And while Tobin fulfilled each of those roles in a dedicated manner, that's not all that he will be remembered for. Perhaps his fellow residents have said it best.
"Bill was a stand-up guy," "He was the Spirit of Sanbornton and will be dearly missed," "One of the most creative and nicest men I ever met," were just a few of the many comments posted on social media.
Others stated, "He was such a kind and loving man." They recalled their childhood days when Tobin would help them with activities such as dance groups and talent contests, Many remembering that he always greeted them with the phrase, "Hey kid!" even when they became adults. And he supported them as adults, too.
"He let a group of us girls take over his woodworking shop once a week to make our Pintrest projects. He was so patient and encouraged us. Love you Bill," said Melanie Van Tassel, the town's welfare officer.
In honor of the man who meant so much to the community, selectmen in Sanbornton even held a moment of silence to remember him before their meeting got underway last week.
Sanbornton Police Chief Stephen Hankard said his memories of Tobin go back to his very first days on the police department in 1996. He said Tobin was one of the first people in Sanbornton he met as he swore him in as a patrolman and always started each interaction the two had with, "Greeting and salutations."
"He was always such a huge fountain of knowledge on almost any subject. I can't tell you how many times a question about town history or a town building came up and someone would say, 'Did you ask Bill Tobin?'" Hankard recalled. "At the police department, our thoughts and prayers are going out to his friends and family, as the loss of Bill Tobin will affect us all for a long time to come."
News of his death spread rapidly to many nearby communities as well, and Tilton Selectman Pat Consentino had this to offer.
"He was an amazing and deeply compassionate man. His love for his family and community knew no boundaries," she said. "He treated everyone the same with a great smile and always asked how you were doing or what he could do to make things a bit better for folks."
Jane Alden of Tilton's Planning Board expressed her thoughts as well, saying "He did so much for so many people in ways others will never know. He was always there when anyone needed help. He was a real life hero."
Timothy Lang of Sanbornton is the current State Representative for Belknap County District 4, and said it was Tobin who was by his side when he first became involved in politics. He said he got to know Tobin when he served as the chair of the Belknap County Republicans, and when Tobin decided not run to for re-election to the State House, he approached Lang and encouraged him to run in his place. Lang said that Tobin was a great citizen in his town who "epitomized the phrase 'service above self."
Finally, former Executive Councilor Joe Kenney also weighed in with memories of Tobin, a man he said he knew to be a great family and community man, legislator, municipal building inspector, military veteran and Cold War hero.
Kenney added, "The world is a lot brighter because of Bill's public service and his commitment to everyone around him. He will be deeply missed but not forgotten."
A full obituary for Mr. Tobin can be found on page A6 of this week's edition.