Conservation Officer
Thomas Jay Deniston
Indiana Department of Natural Resources
Tuesday, October 16, 1990

Age: 28
Served: 2 years
Badge #: 18
Panel 10W, Line 18
Panel L30, Line 8

Incident Details

Cause of Death:
Aircraft accident
Date/Time of Incident:
Tuesday, October 16, 1990
11:00 am
Incident to Death Duration:
Same day
Incident Location:
Smith Field, Fort Wayne
Incident County:
Incident Township:
Weapon Used:
Suspect Disposition:
Burial Place:
Greenlawn Cemetery, Mexico

Share this Memorial

   Conservation Officer Thomas Deniston was killed in an aircraft accident at Smith Field in Fort Wayne.

   He was aboard a Cessna 172 Skyhawk when the aircraft crashed shortly after takeoff. The plane became engulfed in flames upon impact and was nearly completely destroyed.

   The 21-year-old pilot who was a dispatcher and a 23-year-old jail officer, both of the Whitley County Sheriff's Department and off duty at the time, were also killed in the crash.

   Deer being hunted illegally was being investigated by Conservation Officer Deniston who had planned on photographing duck blinds and possible waterfowl baiting.

   Conservation Officer Deniston, from Columbia City, was survived by his wife, four sisters, two brothers and parents.

Military Service

United States Air Force

Historic Place

Smith Field, at 426 West Ludwig Road in Fort Wayne, was built in 1919. Originally known as Paul Baer Municipal Airport, it was named after World War I flying ace Paul Frank Baer (1894–1930). In 1941, it was renamed to honor Arthur Roy "Art" Smith (1890–1926), an aviation pioneer and Fort Wayne native. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places on March 26, 2003 and listed on the Indiana Register of Historic Sites and Structures on October 23, 2002.

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