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John L. Cobb, donated land to Finger Lakes Trail ; Nov. 16, 1918 -- Jan. 22, 2011

John L. Cobb, a 40-year veteran of the military who became known for his significant land donation to the Finger Lakes Trail, died Saturday in the Rosa Coplon Living Center, Getzville. He was 92.

Mr. Cobb, who earned two undergraduate degrees at the University of Buffalo and a graduate degree from the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, spent four decades in active and reserve duty.

He was a staff sergeant in the Southwest Pacific Theater during World War II and eventually rose to the rank of lieutenant colonel. He also served during the Korean War.

An employee of the Internal Revenue Service, Mr. Cobb received one of its top honors, the Albert Gallatin Award. He also worked at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, helped start the food stamp program in Western New York and was honored for his efforts during Hurricane Agnes.

In 2000, Mr. Cobb donated a 45-acre parcel of forest and streams in Franklinville for use as part of the Finger Lakes Trail, an 800-mile foot trail stretching from Canada to Allegany State Park and the Catskills.

"I wanted to do something worthwhile with it," he said at the time.

His wife of 50 years, the former Vera Brooks, died in 1994.

Survivors include a son, John Jr., and a daughter, Lynn Robinson.

A service will be held at 11 a.m. Thursday in Dietrich Funeral Home, 2480 Kensington Ave., Amherst.

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