In Memoriam


Since our founding in 1991, many people have contributed their energy and passion towards fulfilling our vision of conserving the land and waters of the Rangeley Lakes Region. Volunteers, employees, donors, friends and colleagues, and people young and old share a mutual love for the Rangeley community and its stunning natural beauty. We have acknowledged them below.


In Memoriam: David Tibbetts


It is with deep sorrow that we announce the passing of a true New England original- David B. Tibbetts. A renowned watercolor artist, fly-fisherman, poet, children's book author, loyal friend and devoted family man, Dave was well-known for his friendly, outgoing personality, down-to-earth sensibilities, quick wit, and caring, generous spirit. Being somewhat of a local celebrity, people would recognize Dave at once by his full gray beard and Greek fisherman's cap. Always dressed in a colorful fly-fishing shirt and multi-pocket sportsman's vest, he was rarely seen without a thermal coffee mug in hand, especially at the local mini-mart. Dave was always ready with a friendly wave or hello as he greeted friends, children, and strangers alike; always with a dog biscuit ready for any of his four-legged fans.

Dave was born in 1937 and grew up in Holliston, MA, the son of Lorana and Hayden B. Tibbetts, Sr., and younger brother of Hayden B. Tibbetts, Jr. After graduating from high school, Dave attended Vesper George School of Art in Boston, MA where he studied Fine Arts and Graphic Design. It was there that he met fellow student, Julie Jackson who would become his wife and ultimately the love of his life. Following graduation, Dave started his own graphic art studio and built it into a profitable business over time through hard work and creative promotion.


After the births of their children (Heidi, David Payson and Holly) Dave and Julie made the decision to move their young family from suburban Massachusetts to a rambling country estate in the midst of fields and forest in rural Canaan, NH; close to the rivers, lakes and streams where Dave loved to fish. Dave reestablished his graphic design business in NH from home, gaining new clients and making creative forays over the years into side businesses designing board games, hand-cutting intricate wooden puzzles and handmade children’s toys etc…


Eventually Dave’s graphic art studio became known as Tibbetts & Tibbetts when his son, David Payson joined the family business which specialized in catalog design. In the early 1990’s, Dave retired from the graphic design business to pursue the fine art of watercolors- his first love. With all their children now grown and starting families of their own, Dave and Julie made the decision to settle in New London, NH- the perfect place to retire and for Dave to devote his time to watercolor painting full time.


Over the years Dave became well-known throughout New England for his artistic talents and passion for fly-fishing. His many gifted works were appreciated at art shows and are still featured in museums, books, and in many other publications. He was often quoted to say “Am I a fisherman who loves to paint or a watercolorist who loves to fish? I am both and it is a joy.” His unique ability to capture the “magic moments” he experienced on and around the lakes, rivers and streams of New Hampshire and Maine is expertly relayed to his audience in his art and his poetry. When he wasn’t in his home studio painting (often with his favorite cat, Winslow, perched on his shoulder), Dave might be found on an outing with Julie dancing together at a live bandstand concert, or fly-fishing with cherished friends and loved ones sometimes up north in Rangely, Maine at his beloved Kennebago Lake, where many of his Tibbetts ancestors once settled and his parents ran a popular fishing camp for tourists early in the last century.


But no matter how busy or successful Dave became he always made time for his children, 8 grandchildren (Kristen, Skye, Tucker, Scott, Leah, Bryce, Alaina and Taylin) and his three great-grandchildren (Kyleigh, Ava and Beckett). They were the light of his life. As a father, even though he worked hard and sometimes had to travel for business, Dave never missed a game, a play, a concert, or an award ceremony. He took each of his kids fishing, canoeing, and on camping trips and encouraged them to explore their talents and try new experiences. As a grandpa, Dave was always thinking of ways to make each grandchild feel special and remembered even if they lived far away in the south and were now adults. Yearly Priority Mailboxes of carefully gathered NH autumn leaves of every color and small jugs of fresh NH maple syrup, as well as his always funny, fall scarecrow newsletter which he photographed and inclusively personalized featuring all of his children, and grandchildren were eagerly awaited and dearly appreciated because they were from Grandpa. Over the years, every grandchild near or far had the chance to learn to paint, or fish from him and enjoyed special visits having silly fun, making new inside jokes, or starting impromptu dance sessions. Special outings for nature walks, boat rides, museum visits, or sight-seeing in new or old favorite places inevitably always ended with getting yummy ice cream cones. He was the kind of grandpa and father that everyone should have.


To all of you who knew and loved him and even those he passed along the way on his daily power walks around downtown New London or along the footpaths at Kezar Lake, we know that Dave would want to thank you, in his own words “…for being a part of my journey.” Those of us lucky enough to be part of it will never forget him.


No services will be held for Dave at this time. A celebration of his life will be planned this summer. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in the name of David B Tibbetts to: Lake Sunapee Region VNA & Hospice, PO Box 2209, New London, NH 03257-2209