BEDFORD, N.Y. -- Greenwich, Conn., native, former Bedford resident and former Westchester Land Trust chair Samuel F. Pryor died on Friday, Oct.17 at the age of 86 surrounded by his family.
A lifelong conservationist, he committed himself to organizations working on preservation of open space locally and nationally. A director and president of the Appalachian Mountain Club, he was instrumental in bringing national recognition to that group.
In 1997, he was appointed as commissioner of the Palisades Interstate Park Commission, serving as its president from 2005-2010. He was former chairman of the Westchester Land Trust and Town of Bedford Open Space Acquisition Committee.
He also served as a director of the National Forest Foundation, the Land Trust Alliance, Scenic Hudson, New York Audubon, the National Forest Foundation, and the League of Conservation Voters nationally and in New York State.
His colleague Paul Gallay, now president of Riverkeeper, attests that “few people can lay claim to major roles in the land preservation and international rehabilitation movements.
In 2001 Sam Pryor received the prestigious New York Governor’s Award for Parks and Preservation. The Land Trust Alliance presented him with its President’s Award in 2010, and the Open Space Institute awarded their Conservation Award to Mr. Pryor in 2013. He was instrumental in protecting the critically important Sterling Forest in New Jersey and New York and helped create the Shawangunk Gateway Campground which is named for him. The Greenleaf Hut in the White Mountains of New Hampshire was dedicated by the Appalachian Mountain Club in his honor.
Sam Pryor enjoyed adventure. He raced sailboats in Long Island Sound and in the Newport- Bermuda races four times. He participated in an aviation crash investigation in the Amazon
in 1947, and flew around the world in the early days of international air travel. With his wife Sally, friends and family, he traveled to Alaska, Hawaii, Montana, Africa, Asia, Europe and New Zealand on wilderness and mountaineering trips including an expedition to the base camp of Mount Everest and to Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania.
Sam Pryor is the author of two books, "Make It Happen," published in 2008, which is a biography of his late father, Samuel F. Pryor, Jr, and his own memoir, "My Interesting Life," published in 2014.
Pryor joined the law firm of Davis Polk & Wardwell in New York City in 1956, and became a partner in 1961.
For decades, he was central to many of the firm’s most important client relationships, including Morgan Stanley, J.P. Morgan, Exxon and RJR Nabisco.
He became resident partner in the firm’s Paris office in 1963 where he established the firm’s practice in Europe. He was instrumental in building the firm’s privatization practice and advised Her Majesty’s Government during the 1980s in connection with numerous privatization transactions, including British Petroleum and British Airways. Throughout his tenure at the firm, he was a wise and warm mentor to many, assisting younger lawyers by sharing important client relationships.
He pioneered efforts to diversify the firm in the 1960s. He retired and became senior counsel in 1998.
A dedicated volunteer and philanthropist throughout his life, served as a trustee of Northern Westchester Hospital and the Taft School. He was chair emeritus of the Republican Majority for Choice, a 50-year director of the Provident Loan Society, an overseer of the University of Pennsylvania Law School, and Vice Chair of the Episcopal Church Pension Fund.
Until his death he was Chair of the World Rehabilitation Fund and a director of Women’s eNews.
Born in 1928 in Greenwich, he attended the Taft School, Yale University, and the University of Pennsylvania Law School.
Sally Reese Pryor, his wife of 60 years, survives him as do his children, Sam, Kathy Burgeson, Dan, Joe and Ted, their spouses, and his nine grandchildren. Sam Pryor was a leader in law and philanthropy, a mentor to countless individuals, an author and adventurer.
Sam Pryor served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1953 to 1955, and attained the rank of captain in the reserves. At the end of the Korean War he was assistant to the Commandant and then worked in the Navy Judge Advocate General’s office in the Pentagon. In 2010 he received a Marine Corps Foundation Leadership Award.
Funeral services will be held at St Matthews Church in Bedford on Saturday, Nov. 1 at 11 a.m.
In lieu of flowers donations can be made to Northern Westchester Hospital and the Westchester Land Trust.
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