Tom Durkin worked as a chemist at Trudeau Institute. He had been a boarder for years at the D'Aigneau Cottage Annex at 48 Helen Street, and later became caretaker and house father for Miss Donnelly. He stayed on to watch over the house when Peter Donnelly rented to college students from 1974 through the early 1980s, still sleeping on his cure porch.
"They're the staff of the Saranac Laboratory. Desiring to take their place in the world despite the handicap of tuberculosis, they have become research workers, whose honest and often spectacular attainments are internationally known.
"They are quietly at work on the research problem of tuberculosis and of silicosis and other dust diseases. They are quietly proving, also, though they're unaware of it, that Saranac Lake is an A-No. 1 spot for rehabilitation of the patient.
"They've all had tuberculosis. They're united in their interest in its care and cure. Not doctors of medicine, they all see in laboratory work a way of further defeating a disease which each day, through their efforts, grows less formidable.
"They're largely self-taught, though as one learns his profession, he gives his help to the next. . . .
"Thomas M. Durkin is one of them — in fact he's the lab's chief chemist. He was a mining engineer and European sales manager for the Gleason Gear works. He knew quite a lot of chemistry, of course, but he had never put it to work." 1
1. From: “They Rebuild Men” by Eleanor Dayton. Partial transcription from a partial photocopy, page 10, source unknown, apparently 1941.