A Memorial to David Lobbig

By Jared Opsal; Executive Director, Missouri Coalition for the Environment

With sorrow, we are reporting to you the passing of our longtime friend and supporter, David Lobbig, on January 1, 2023. David always made time for people and for conversation, both in person and via email. He was known for being patient, attentive, thoughtful, thorough, and an eloquent communicator. 

David was a board member of the Missouri Coalition for the Environment for over 20 years. He sat on the Policy, Board Development, and Fundraising and Development Committees; and the Smart Growth Action Team. He was also the Board President from 2010 to 2016, and he stepped down from the MCE Board in June 2022.

David was always a patient attentive listener, a thorough researcher and an eloquent communicator, and used these skills to solve problems, help hire staff, inform the board, and keep MCE moving forward. As chair of the Policy Committee, David collected background information, invited local speakers or stakeholders and directed discussions of environmental issues in depth so the committee could make recommendations to the full board on whether to pursue litigation, support legislation, or take a position on specific issues. 

David’s position at the Missouri History Museum as Curator of Environmental Life allowed him to combine his background and interest in art and the environment. He was able to educate the general public on the significance of environmental factors in the history of the region through the exhibits he curated. In his work, David became acquainted with academics, writers, artists, elected officials, and area residents, some of whom were very helpful in supporting the work and special events and projects of MCE. 

David’s fellow board members created this poem about David in honor of his years with MCE when he stepped down as the Board President in 2016.

David was a Litter pickin’, Trail hikin’, Water protectin’, Speech makin’, Pumpkin carvin’, Dog lovin’, Tree plantin’, Wood fire buildin’, Artifact acquirin’, Collection curatin’, Archive contributin’, Stream floatin’, Committee chairin’, Chili cookin’, Award givin’, Bunny huggin’, Memo writin’, President of the Board retirin’ kind of guy.

In 2014, David gave a TEDx presentation in St. Louis about how a citizens group started an effort to collect baby teeth, which led to the cessation of governments testing nuclear bombs.

David left a long legacy, and as MCE member and volunteer, Fran Vinnecombe, put it when learning of his passing, “Aw crap!!! I know there was so much more he wanted to do!”

David’s absence is a great loss to his family, to all of us at MCE, and to the planet. He will be missed by many.