Died: February, 1982
Married: Madeline Foster (died April 14, 1969), Marie B. (David) Smith
Children: Daniel F. Ward
Thomas P. Ward was a TB patient at a cottage run by Anna Fallon before 1922; he regained his health and became a well known realtor and insurance agent; he served as mayor of the village from 1935 to 1941, and as postmaster from 1941 to 1964. During the New Deal era, he was head of the regional Works Progress Administration.
The Guild News, April 24, 1942
Do you know your postmaster? At one time, he was also your mayor. He is the owner of a successful business in Saranac Lake, and has been a leader in just about every movement designed to help this village. In addition to all that, he is an influential figure in state and national politics.
The original of this description is Thomas P. Ward. In 1921, he came to Saranac Lake on a stretcher, after serving with the Marines in France, and the Army of Occupation in Germany. In fact, he had the very first ride in the old top-heavy ambulance, which served this village so faithfully for eighteen years.
After "curing" for two years, Mr. Ward regained his health, and was ready to go back to work. The small-town life of the Adirondacks seemed ideal to him, and so instead of returning to his home in Jersey City, he opened a real estate office in this village.
Politics being a family tradition, he soon found himself playing a part in the political life of the town, and he also widened the scope of his business to include insurance.
Mr. Ward married, raised a family, and in 1935 was elected mayor of the village. In 1941, he also became postmaster; and until the expiration of his term as mayor, held both offices at the same time.
Not bad for a man who arrived on a stretcher!
Adirondack Daily Enterprise, February 11, 1962
Tom Ward, local leader, dies in Florida at 83
SARANAC LAKE - Thomas P. Ward, 83, the mayor of Saranac Lake from 1935 to 1941 and owner of the Thomas P. Ward Insurance Co., Inc., here died yesterday at the North Miami Hospital in Florida.
He had come to this village in 1921 to cure from tuberculosis, recovered, and began his insurance office here in 1923. He was president of the firm until his death.
Ward immersed himself in village politics, serving first as a village trustee. His election to the mayoralty post in 1935 made him, a registered Democrat, "a little David against the Goliath of this then strongly entrenched Republican county," according to The Adirondack Daily Enterprise.
During his tenure, extensive WPA and PWA programs were initiated in this community. Reconstruction of most of the village's principal streets was carried out and negotiations for reduction of power rates were begun. Ward was an alternate delegate to the Democratic National Convention in 1932.
Three hundred plus people were in attendance at his testimonial dinner when he finally stepped down as mayor. One speaker that evening, Dr. Albert Hayes, secretary of the New York State Democratic Committee, praised Ward as "as good a mayor as we have seen in Saranac Lake," and said Ward had been "a grand leader in these difficult times."
Tracing the mayor's service to the community, Hayes pointed to his record as president of the General Hospital of Saranac Lake for four years and later as president of the Municipal League.
Ward's name, Hayes added, "had spread beyond Saranac Lake".
Franklin County Judge C.J. Carey, County Democratic Chairman Edward Frenette and Tupper Lake Mayor Frank McCarthy added their praise for Ward.
Hearing all this praise, Ward reciprocated saying "my heart is wrapped up in Saranac Lake. I have been mayor of this town and I know its problems. We can overcome them all with a positive program of advertising our assets - which are wonderful climate in all seasons, beautiful surroundings and friendly people."
Ward advocated an improved appearance for the village "so that touring motorists will be tempted to stop awhile and look us over."
In other activities while he was mayor, Ward represented the nine counties of Northern New York at the World's Fair Commission in 1938 and 1939.
In 1941, he became postmaster here and served in that position until 1964. He was president of the New York State Chapter of the National Association of Postmasters in 1953.
Mr. Ward was born March 22, 1898 in Jersey City, N.J., the son of Thomas Michael and Catherine (McCoy) Ward.
His first wife, Madeline (Foster) Ward died April 14, 1969. He married Marie B. (David) Smith Feb. 11, 1970.
A charter member of the Tupper Lake Veteran's of Foreign Wars Post 3120, he later transferred his membership to the Saranac Lake VFW Post 3357 when it was formed in 1937.
He was also a member of American Legion Post 447, a life member of Elks Lodge 1508 and of the Knights of Columbus Council 599, all of Saranac Lake.
He was instrumental in bringing the VFW convention to Saranac Lake in 1937.
Ward was also owner and operator of the Berkeley Hotel from 1953 to 1978.
Survivors include his wife and a son, Daniel F., both of Saranac Lake: three brothers, Francis of Toms River, N.J.; Bernard of Fanwood, N.J.; and Joseph of Utica; six grandchildren, Mrs. Catherine Burlew of Rochester; Thomas P. Ward II, James R. Ward and Paul Ward, all of Saranac Lake; Mrs. Anne Jeanette of West Chazy and Daniel F. Ward serving in the U.S. Navy and stationed at New London, Conn.
A funeral service is tentatively set for Saturday in Miami.
Local arrangements are with the Keough and Son Funeral Home and calling hours will be held there Wednesday, Feb. 17 from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m.
Interment will be in St. Bernard's Cemetery in May.
Lake Placid News, January 31, 1936
Saranac Lake Wants Own Electric Plant
Upon the recommendation of Mayor Thomas P. Ward, village trustees of Saranac Lake unanimously adopted a resolution Monday night favoring applying to the federal government for a $200,000 grant towards the construction of a $445,000 municipal electric power plant.
The engineers say that such a plant would pay for itself within five years at prevailing rates. Two points brought out in their report to the village board are, "A municipally-owned electric utility plant in Saranac Lake can be operated at a substantial profit to the village at rates from 25 per cent to 40 per cent lower than those now changed" and "under proposed municipal rates the various classes of consumers' rates will receive the following approximate reduction: "Residential rates, 40 per cent and commercial and municipal rates 25 per cent. "Street lighting will reduce the amount paid for this service from $12,868 to $10,000 annually and in-crease illuminating capacity from 63,220 candle power, or a reduction of 54 per cent per unit of illuminating capacity.
- Gallos, Philip L., Cure Cottages of Saranac Lake, Historic Saranac Lake, 1985, p. 59. ISBN 0-9615159-0-2
1. Social Security Death Index