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Captain Bobseine leaves a strong legacy

Another Bobseine will be on the scene.

Capt. Gary L. Bobseine, head environmental conservation officer (ECO) for Region 9 of the Department of Environmental Conservation, timed his official retirement date to July 14, the day after his daughter Liza graduated from the ECO academy.

Capt. Bobseine presented ECO Bobseine her diploma at Fulton during graduation ceremonies July 13.

That handoff, and dad's retirement party the next day, meant the Bobseine name remains in state service, continuing a 60-year tradition of outdoors-related duty.

"My dad started as a special conservation officer in 1947 and retired as a wildlife biologist in 1974, the year after I began as a state park police officer," Gary said during a combined retirement and graduation gathering of about 160 family and friends inside an airplane hangar on a hilltop in Ellicottville.

Flying is one of the many pursuits Gary will continue to enjoy during his retirement, along with hunting, sailing, horse keeping and riding, and just about everything to do with the outdoors.

Gary Bobseine's 34-year career with the park police and his impressive rise to top enforcement officer were duly noted throughout the evening. But it is the remarkable ongoing accomplishments of the entire Bobseine family that took center stage throughout the evening.

Bobseine's skills led to promotions early in his DEC service, resulting in an offer to become the state's enforcement director. He passed on the position, which would have meant a move to Albany, saying, "I wanted to be able to work close to my family."

Family, and their 500-acre homestead in northern Cattaraugus County, remains a center for learning about and loving the outdoors and those close to the outdoors.

Wife Jan home-schooled all five of their children. Liza, 24, the oldest, hunted, fished, raised horses, and even won pole-climbing competitions while preparing for her position as a DEC officer. She will be on duty in East Hampton on the tip of Long Island.

She entered as one of 27 candidates in the latest ECO academy. She was one of 17 who graduated, cited as "Most Positive in Her Class."

At the retirement party, Liza Bobseine honored her father with her perception of her role as a conservation officer. When considering conduct on cases, she projected, "This is what my dad would have done."

Polly, her 22-year-old sister, is a USAF Airman who has served four tours of duty, mainly in Iraq. In 2006, she was selected from a half-million member pool as Airman of the Year.

Friends introduced her to famed rocker and hunting advocate Ted Nugent, who invited her to hunt at the M.C. Longwater Ranch in central Texas. She successfully took a 10-point whitetail buck as the first airman and female service person on Nugent's Red White and Blue Outdoors TV program.

Dad cited Katy, 20, the youngest daughter, as "unique, an equestrian, rifleman, and a student studying Arabic." He noted, "her interest in using her fine mind is not just to learn the language, but also to help protect the country."

The Bobseine twin boys, who turned 18 on June 2, have had a few adventures of their own.

Gallager survived a plane crash in Mayville less than a year ago and has just successfully passed his pilot's exam. Dad referred to him as "patient and tough," a reference to his engineering skills, "which came from his mother, not his father," and to his quick recovery from serious injuries.

Ike, born six minutes after Gallager, is what dad calls "Enthusiasm." He won his first High Power Rifle Championship in 2005 and went on to take that championship again in 2007 in New York and Ohio.

"He would have won the Pennsylvania title also, if he wasn't here tonight," dad said of the Keystone State competition held that day.

All five children are enrolled as life members of the National Rifle Association. Gary concluded his family bios with a reference to their mom, Jan. "What a girl," he said of his wife, a "natural marksman."

Jan left a teaching career to devote more time to her family. One of her better gatherings was hosting the Dianas, an accomplished group of female archers, at their home in 1996. She set up everything from tree stands to a wild turkey dinner.

The retirement party invitation posed the question "What will he do with all his free time?"

His answer, while pointing to his plane tied off next to the hangar, was simply, "Fly, hunt and work the woods," a reference to the 500 acres around the house and another 200 acres acquired near home.

But amid all these involvements, he will be seeing to the immediate and forthcoming Bobseine family.

e-mail: willodrs@gmail.com

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