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Island corrections officer dies

"Tony Dobson, well-known community corrections officer and avid boater, was killed Thursday night in a tree-cutting accident at his North Whidbey home.Island County Fire District 2 Assistant Chief Larry Wall said the 56-year-old Dobson was killed when a fir tree fell on top of him while he was cutting it down, pinning him underneath. A neighbor man was able to free Dobson by cutting away the branches before firefighters arrived.The accident off Troxell Road was reported at about 8:30 p.m.Wall said Dobson sustained a broken leg, a broken arm and a possible pelvic injury, but he was conscious and talking. Dobson was transported to Whidbey General Hospital, where he was airlifted to Harborview Medical Center. He died from his injuries.Mark Lehmann, community corrections supervisor, said Dobson worked as a corrections officer for nearly 10 years. Community corrections officers are, he said, basically what people think of as parole or probation officers.As lead corrections officer on Whidbey Island, Dobson was responsible for supervising the most serious offenders in the community. He spoke at several community meetings about high-risk sex offenders in the past few years.He was highly dedicated toward the welfare of the community, Lehmann said, but he still had a big heart for both offenders and the people who were involved in their lives.Dobson was an officer in the Navy before retiring and becoming a corrections officer. He was based at Whidbey Island Naval Air Station.He married fellow boat enthusiast Evelyn Nelson about two years ago. Oak Harbor Marina Harbormaster Dave Williams said the couple owns a beautiful 42-foot sailboat, the Celestial Sea, that they moor at the marina. He said Dobson was well liked by the other marina tenants.He loved the water, Williams said. It was always a pleasure seeing him coming.Since he was also a corrections officer, Williams said Dobson often brought offenders to work at the marina through the community service program.In addition to boating, Lehmann said, Dobson loved to hike and mountain climb. He even climbed Mount Everest when he was in the Navy.Friday, the phone is his office was ringing off the hook with people calling to find out what happened to him and if the sad rumor was true.It sure shouldn't have happened to him, Williams said. He and his wife had some great plans for adventures. "

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