By Lidie Robbins, 30 Mile Executive Director
Daniel K. Onion (1942-2022) was a force for good and his impact far-reaching. His passing last week has been felt deeply in our community.
A family doctor who dedicated his career to improving rural health, Dan cared not only about the health and well-being of the members of his community, but also about the health of our waters. Dan loved the 30 Mile River Watershed, especially Parker Pond, where he shared a camp with his family.
I had known of Dan since I was a child living just up the road in Vienna, but I first began working with him when the 30 Mile River Watershed Association was just an idea. In 2007, building on our shared committee work to protect Vienna’s lakes and ponds, Dan led a group of members of neighboring towns, lake associations, and land trusts in joining together to form a coalition that could have greater impact. He organized meetings, filed the required state and federal applications, recruited board members, drafted bylaws, and became the organization’s first president when we kicked off our inaugural board meeting in January 2008. Dan made things happen.
We worked together closely in 30 Mile’s early years, first as fellow board members, then when I became Executive Director. He was my mentor. Always generous with his time, he helped whenever and wherever he could. Dan remained a vital member of 30 Mile’s Board for twelve years and was instrumental not only in the organization’s creation, but its growth and success.
Dan was a true leader, loved and respected by his community, and always giving back, right to the end. He leaves behind a tremendous legacy and will be greatly missed.
Read Dan’s obituary here. A service celebrating Dan’s life will be held on Friday, July 29 at 2 p.m. at the Mount Vernon Community Center, 2 North Road, Mount Vernon, Maine. Those wishing to make donations in Dan’s memory are encouraged to consider the organizations that he helped found: 30 Mile River Watershed Association, Neighbors Driving Neighbors and the Town of Mount Vernon, Aging in Place Committee.