Conservation Officer Thomas Jay Deniston

Conservation Officer Thomas Jay Deniston

Indiana Department of Natural Resources, Indiana

End of Watch Tuesday, October 16, 1990

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Thomas Jay Deniston

Conservation Officer Thomas Deniston was killed in an aircraft accident at Smith Field near State Road 3 and Interstate 69 in Allen County.

Conservation Officer Deniston was traveling in 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 pilot who was a dispatcher, and a jail officer, both of the Whitley County Sheriff's Department and off duty were also killed in the crash. Conservation Officer Deniston was investigating deer being hunted illegally and had planned on photographing duck blinds and possible waterfowl bating.

Conservation Officer Deniston had served with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources for two years and was a US Air Force veteran. He was survived by his wife, four sisters, two brothers and parents.


  • Age 28
  • Tour 2 years
  • Badge 18
  • Military Veteran

Incident Details

  • Cause Aircraft accident

Most Recent Reflection

View all 16 Reflections

Tom and I both were in district 2. We worked together on a couple short projects and roomed together for an annual training session.
He was the most straight forward, honest, and squared away guy I think I've known. I so much appreciate having known him.
I shudder at the thought of that awful day.
Rest in Heavenly Peace my Brother.

Master Officer, retired, Mark Johnston
IDNR, Enforcement Div.

October 17, 2019

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