Timothy W. Brennan, 73, of Hadley, Massachusetts, the long-serving Executive Director of the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission, passed away at his home on March 12, 2020. He waged a courageous battle with appendix cancer with characteristic grace and stoicism.
During his more than 46 years of public service, Tim was instrumental in bringing major improvements to the people of the Pioneer Valley, especially in the areas of transportation, recreation, and the environment. He worked tirelessly on the clean-up of the Connecticut River, on the expansion of train service to the Springfield area, and on converting old railroad rights-of-way to recreational use, including bicycle paths. A leader who was able to work effectively with government officials at all levels, as well as with academia, business and industry, Tim helped make the Pioneer Valley a vibrant and desirable place to live and work.
Tim was also a mentor to his staff and to others across the country in the field of planning. He taught urban planning at UMass Amherst and Westfield State University for several years as an adjunct professor, and received an Honorary Doctorate from WSU in 2015. Over the years, Tim held several leadership positions in regional and national planning organizations, and was the recipient of numerous honors and awards for his service. Upon his retirement from the PVPC in October 2019, additional accolades poured in, attesting to the respect and standing he earned from his peers.
Tim Brennan, a native of Scotch Plains, New Jersey, was born in 1947. He received his undergraduate degree from the State University of New York at Buffalo, and his graduate degree in urban planning from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Upon graduation, Tim settled in the Pioneer Valley. Along with his former wife, the late Karen Leveille, Tim raised his beloved daughters Emily and Katherine Brennan, who survive him. Tim is also survived by his devoted long-time partner, Dr. Katherine Walsh, and by three aunts, numerous brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, and cousins who all mourn his passing.
Tim achieved one of his early goals in life when he received his pilot's license, and enjoyed nothing more than flying over the Pioneer Valley, marveling at its beauty. Those who knew and loved him will always delight in remembering his lifetime love of jazz, travel, and good food, and will remain forever humbled by his everlasting belief in the goodness of humanity.
His family would like to thank Dr. Paul Jodka, the Cooley Dickinson 3 North nursing staff, and Tim's hospice team for their compassionate care.
A celebration of life memorial is being organized for later this spring. Memorial gifts may be made to the Tim Brennan Leadership Fund with Leadership Pioneer Valley, 1 Federal Street, Building 101, Springfield, MA 01105.
Memorial register at www.douglassfuneral.com