Home > About > Biography of John Abbuhl
Biography of John Abbuhl
John Abbuhl was born and raised in the rural town of Cropseyville, New York.  As a young man, hunting and fishing became two of his favorite outdoor hobbies.  His father had an interest in and knowledge of trees and imparted this to his son.  John has many memories of walking the yard as a child and discussing the various trees and their attributes with his father.

Upon graduating from The Albany Academy in 1943,  John passed a qualifying exam and was enrolled in the Navy V-12 College Training program which enabled him to attend Harvard College and then Albany Medical College from 1945 to 1949.  He served as a naval flight surgeon during the Korean War.

After his naval service, he completed three years of pediatric residency at Albany Medical Center and began private pediatric practice in 1956.  He was a founding member of Schoolhouse Road Pediatrics in 1978 and served as pediatrician for Parsons Child and Family Center from 1956 to 2006.  He retired from private practice in 2005.

John moved to Pine Hollow Road in Slingerlands in 1966 with his wife Audrey (now deceased) and four children, purchasing a home designed by architect Howard Blattner.  He began planting trees and shrubs to landscape the property.  One of his initial projects was construction of the Front Pond which was the first of twelve ponds constructed on the property.  This was a great help in landscaping while maintaining a natural environment.  He found great joy in learning about and planting different types of trees.  At present, there are over 3,300 specimens representing over 180 genera that he hand-planted.  By the mid 1970’s John began to think that his property and collection of trees could become an arboretum for both the public and horticultural community to enjoy.

John is also the founder of the Cornwallville Conservation Corporation which he created in 1969 to protect 1,100 acres of land in the Catskill mountains.  He was also a founding member of the Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy in 1992.

John’s philosophy on landscaping and planting has been, and continues to be, “to allow the land to tell me what to do” and let trees grow to their fullest potential.  Kay Abbuhl, whom John married in 1989, has played an instrumental role in getting the arboretum launched and permanently chartered by New York State.  John and Kay’s wish for the arboretum is for it to continue to grow and flourish for the public’s enjoyment.  They view The Pine Hollow Arboretum as a lifetime project for the benefit of present and future generations.  The arboretum will flourish as the public increasingly recognizes and supports its mission.