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David Perkins Sinish

David Perkins Sinish passed away peacefully at his home on Wednesday, June 14, 2023, from a sudden and quickly progressin brain tumor. He was 76 years old. Due to his distinctive physical stance, his big heart, and sense of humor, he was instantly recognizable throughout town and the paddling community. His love of nature and water was a constant in his life that he shared with his family, friends, and community.

He was born on October 19, 1946, in Winchester, Massachusetts, to Dr. Kenneth and Bessie Sinish. He met his wife, Carryl (Carrie) Lynn Johnson, of nearly 54 years, when they were both just 17 years old. David graduated from Ripon College, where he was the captain of his ski team. During a gap year from college, David drove around the country in a VW bus with his faithful German Shepard named Duke and worked odd jobs to fund his travels. Throughout college and cross-country adventures, David and Carrie stayed connected with limitless letters. After college, on June 28, 1969, David and Carrie were married and moved to an apartment near Trinity College in Hartford.

Shortly after moving to Collinsville, their son Colin was born. There, they raised Colin, a graduate of Canton High School Class of 1993, and Jennifer, who was a member of the graduating class of Class of 2000.

An avid paddler, instructor, and conservationist, David Sinish was a long-time board member for the Farmington River Watershed Association, a member of the Farmington River Coordinating Committee, a founder of the Connecticut Canoe Racing Association, and an original member of the Feasibility Study Committee that laid the foundation for the 1994 national Partnership Wild and Scenic designation of 14 miles (It’s now 15.1 miles) of the Farmington River between Hartland and Canton. With those organizations, and others, he spent countless hours paddling, educating, monitoring water quality and so much more.

The great outdoors was always a big part of their lives. David’s children fondly remember the annual vacations to the Appalachian Mountain Club’s Three Mile Island Camp on Lake Winnipesaukee, and the countless canoe races in which he would participate.

David also expressed his love for nature through his beautiful garden and playing his flute. He often entertained his neighbors with his wooden flute from the dock on Lake Winnipesaukee or his front porch on Dyer Avenue.

There was also David’s time building his own kayaks and wood-strip canoes. His children and David greatly valued the time they spent building and restoring cherished canoes and kayaks of diverse materials and design.

David and Carrie Sinish have been active in many community efforts as well. David served on the Board of Selectmen for several years and was a member of the Canton Inland Wetlands and Watercourses Agency. He also served on the Board of Assessment Appeals for several years.

But certainly, David Sinish is most known for the time he’s spent on bodies of water like the Farmington River and West Hill Pond, and advocating for their protection.

David was an integral part of the Farmington River Coordinating Committee and was on the board of the Farmington River Watershed Association since the early 1980s. He served as board president from 1985-1993 and chairman from 1993-2000.

He was a constant advocate, speaker, writer, educator, water quality monitor and more, serving in roles such as an organizer of the FRWA-hosted Eastern Region U.S. Olympic Whitewater Kayak Trials at the Tariffville Gorge.

David was a long-time advocate and champion of the Farmington River for over 40 years. A lot of the accomplishments of the FRWA would not have happened without him.

In addition to his beloved wife, Carrie, David is survived by his son Colin Kenneth Sinish and his fiancée Amy Rocco; his daughter Jennifer Alida McQueen and her husband David McQueen; and his four grandchildren, Quinsa, Kai, David, and Jackie. David also leaves behind his two brothers, Jon and Peter Sinish.

A memorial celebration is planned for later in the summer. In lieu of flowers, the family would welcome contributions to help offset medical costs sent to Sinish, 20 Dyer Ave, Collinsville, CT 06019, or donations can be made to the Farmington River Watershed Association, 749 Hopmeadow St, Simsbury, CT 06070.


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