Dateline-Hampton Falls, NH
Alice Mary Landis Tonry, age 94, passed away peacefully at the Tonry Christmas Tree Farm in Hampton Falls, NH on July 5, 2016.
A resident of Hampton Falls for 52 years, she and her husband Herbert Tonry raised six children and established the long-standing Tonry Farm, a holiday destination for many area families during the Christmas season since its beginning as a 4H experiment in 1964.
An extraordinary woman of many talents, she will be remembered as the matriarch of a large family, including her six children, their spouses and partners, her 10 grandchildren and many great grandchildren.
Alice Landis was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, on August 13, 1921, the daughter of Abigail and George Landis. She had three sisters, Abigail Landis Imbrie, Sarah Landis and Mimi Landis. After attending Middlebury College ('43), she graduated second in her class from Tufts Medical School in 1951. She served in the Army during WWII as a medical technician. After the war, she met her future husband Herbert while vacationing with her family at an Appalachian Mountain Club camp on Lake Winnipesaukee; they were married in 1952 and moved to Massachusetts to begin family life together. Herbert Tonry was a partner of the Albert J. Tonry Insurance Company, a commercial insurance firm located in Boston's Prudential Tower.
Living in Wellesley Hills, Mass, during the children's early years, she and Herb sought a more rural lifestyle and moved to Hampton Falls, NH in 1964, buying an old farmhouse and some land on Exeter Road. This marked the start of a remarkable time filled with her family and their friends, her beloved collies, and the management of a 250-acre farm. No one could drive the family bulldozer with more finesse than this petite woman, who loved mowing the farm's extensive fields on her trusty Cub Cadet on summer days.
Ever versatile, Alice enjoyed a successful career in real estate once her children were a bit older, and also led the development of a subdivision in Brentwood now known as Riverside. When Herb died in 1990, Alice's daughter Abby assumed the role of farm manager in close partnership with her mother.
In 2007, working through the Southeast Land Trust, Alice placed a permanent conservation easement over most of the farm's 250 acres in order to ensure the permanent protection of the land she so loved.
She was a 30-year member of the New Hampshire-Vermont Christmas Tree Association, a faithful alumna of Middlebury College, and a fixture as a proud Army veteran in area Memorial Day services.
She leaves a large family who will miss her beyond measure – Albert Tonry of Kansas, Claudia Spilberger of Louisiana, John Tonry of Hawaii, widow of her son George, Kate Day of Massachusetts and their daughters Jessie Day Tonry and Alice Day Tonry; Abby Tonry of Hampton Falls and Louie Tonry of Texas. She is also survived by her sister, Mimi Landis, her many grandchildren, and a large circle of nephews, nieces, their partners and children, all of whom share fond memories of Alice and the farm as the center of this extended family.
In her honor, the family invites friends and acquaintances to a reception on Monday, July 11, from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Tonry Farm, 314 Exeter Road in Hampton Falls. There will be a brief, informal service at 5 pm to celebrate a long life well lived. Burial will be private. A tax deductible Tributary Gift in her memory may be made to the Southeast Land Trust, an Exeter-based organization that helps preserve farmland and open space in southeastern New Hampshire, at SELTNH.org.
Brewitt Funeral Home, Exeter, NH is handling the arrangements.