To The Realm of Ages

To The Realm of Ages


new memorial is growing on the Pomfret campus.

Just behind Clark Memorial Chapel stands a small spindly sapling that will one day grow to become a towering presence on campus. The copper beech tree was donated by former Pomfret resident Charles Stoddard to honor and remember Patrick Wood '01, who died suddenly in 2006. Patrick was the Pomfret valedictorian in 2001. He graduated from Stanford with distinction in math in 2005 and was working as a programmer at Siemens in Berlin when he committed suicide at age 23.

"He was a talented and accomplished musician," said Stoddard. "He became fluent in German, and I know from experience how difficult it is to learn to read, write, and speak the language, especially in his case coming from a small New England town."

The tree was planted near Clark Memorial Chapel, where Patrick had played in many piano recitals. On a windy fall day, Stoddard explained that the tree was a "memorial to Patrick Wood's ueberpersonliche, the German word meaning beyond the personal experience of a gifted and talented life." The dedication included Drew Marshall '19, Sydney Dubitsky '20, Blake Zahansky '21, and Brennan Holmes '21 — four Pomfret students who have all won the merit scholarship bearing Patrick's name.

"Special thanks go to Louisa Jones and Brenda Bullied from Pomfret School," said Lisette Rimer, Patrick's mother. "Most importantly, thanks goes to Mr. Stoddard for caring about Patrick. It says a lot about the heart of this community. When tragedy strikes, heartfelt gestures like his keep you going." Stoddard planted the trees at both schools and ended each dedication by saying that we cast our memories of Patrick "to the realm of ages."