New sign marks woods and trails in honor of beloved priest

September 27, 2013 Updated May 12, 2011 at 11:56 AM EDT

By WKBW News


New sign marks woods and trails in honor of beloved priest

September 27, 2013 Updated May 12, 2011 at 11:56 AM EDT

ST. BONAVENTURE, N.Y. (St. Bonaventure University release) — Dr. Barbara Tylenda was a student at a Catholic high school in New Jersey back in the 1970s when she first met the late Fr. Bob Stewart, O.F.M.

It was Fr. Bob’s first teaching job, and several years before he entered the priesthood.

“He taught me geometry, chemistry and psychology,” said Tylenda. “In fact, he was instrumental in my decision to become a clinical psychologist. We were close friends for 29 years, and he was a mentor to me all those years.”

As a friar, Fr. Bob made his way to St. Bonaventure University where he taught theology and Italian, forged deep friendships, pursued his love of athletic activities, and drew inspiration from the woods and trails surrounding campus.

When he died of cancer in 2001, the forested university lands he frequented on runs and quiet walks were named Bob’s Woods in his honor, and marked with several hand-painted, wood plank signs.

Now, 10 years after Fr. Bob’s death, Tylenda’s son, Matthew A. Karpas, is graduating from St. Bonaventure and Tylenda is remembering her old friend and mentor with a new sign marking one of the main campus access points to Bob’s Woods.

Tylenda and her husband, Scott H. Ogilvie, residents of Worcester, Mass., brought the sign to campus this week and oversaw its installation at a trailhead near the university’s softball field.

The sign was dedicated in a small ceremony Tuesday attended by Tylenda, Ogilvie and their son, as well as Br. F. Edward Coughlin, O.F.M., St. Bonaventure’s vice president for Franciscan Mission, and Dr. James Mahar Jr., associate professor of finance and founder/coordinator of BonaResponds, the university’s disaster-relief organization. BonaResponds maintains the trails through Bob’s Woods.

“Fr. Bob was such an inspiration to me when I was young and he remained a close family friend,” said Tylenda. “We’re so happy to be able to remember him in this way.”

Tylenda is chief psychologist for the Center for Autism and Developmental Disabilities at the Emma Pendleton Bradley Hospital in Providence, R.I. She is also a clinical associate professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior in the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, and associate director for postdoctoral training in the Brown University Clinical Psychology Training Consortium.

Ogilvie is recently retired from the Research and Development Department in the Aircraft Engine Business Group of General Electric Company.

Their son, Matthew, will be among the graduating class at St. Bonaventure’s 151st Commencement Exercises Sunday. He will receive his bachelor’s degree in finance and plans to pursue his MBA next year at St. Bonaventure.