Born: April 28, 1887

Died: August 5, 1964

Married: Margaret M. Ryan


Thomas E. Derby was a Forest Ranger.

Adirondack Daily Enterprise, January 9, 1958

Started April 23, 1919:
Tom Derby Takes It Easy After 38 Years As Ranger


On April 23, 1919 Thomas Derby of Bloomingdale donned the uniform of a New York State Ranger. Ever since that date he has wondered what it would be like to lay aside the duties and cares of the eagle-eyed watcher of 191 miles of state land.

Recently retired after an active 38 years and 8 months he has taken well to the leisure long due him. His record with the forest service parallels the historical advances of the conservation movement in the state since it became one of the burning issues of the legislature.

Tom's territory started literally and figuratively in his own back yard and he has enjoyed the advantages of working in an area that is as familiar to him as his own kitchen.

There have been few memorable highlights in a career spanning nearly half a century, the forester's duties falling into a category of routine seldom broken except by fire or tragedy. He spoke briefly of the Bloomingdale marsh fire of 1921 when 500 acres were burned. Horse drawn vehicles were used to bring water to the site and equipment was scarce and crude.

Tom has spent many a long weary hour in search for vacationers and lost hunters who wandered from the paths of nearby mountains and in dragging the lakes and rivers for drowning victims. He spent 11 days on Mt. Morris near Tupper Lake combing the wilderness for a lost youngster not many years ago.

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The original Whiteface Mountain tower was erected with his help also.

Many freshly timbered tracts in the area were farmland and fire-blackened eye-sores when Tom supervised reforestation crews in seeding and planting to bring back much of the virgin beauty of the Adirondacks.

And while Tom went his appointed rounds each day, his wife looked after the small weather station on their land, sending in daily reports to the weather bureau, recording rainfall, wind velocity and temperature variations.

There is a feeling of satisfaction and a job well done in the comfortable farm home on the Bloomingdale-Franklin Falls road where the Derbys have always lived . . . and the two framed certificates hanging on the wall help tell the story. His appointment by Conservation Commissioner George Pratt in 1919 and his retirement on December 31 signed by Sharon Mauhs.


Adirondack Daily Enterprise, August 6, 1964

 Thomas E. Derby

Thomas E. Derby, 77, a lifelong resident of Bloomingdale, died last evening at Saranac Lake General Hospital. He was born April 28, 1887, a son of Earl and Mary Gleason Derby. He retired seven years ago after serving as a New York State Forest Ranger for 38 years.

Survivors are his wife, the former Margaret M. Ryan; a brother, William of Ilion; and several nieces and nephews.

Friends may call from 2 to 4 and 7 to 10 o'clock, beginning today, at the Madonna Chapel of the Keough and Son Funeral Home. An Elks Service will be held at 8 p.m. Friday and a Rosary Service at 8:15. A Requiem High Mass will be offered at 10 a.m. Saturday at St. Bernard's Church for the repose of his soul. Burial will be in St. Bernard's Cemetery.