Conservation Officer Denver Earlington Tabor

Conservation Officer Denver Earlington Tabor

Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, Kentucky

End of Watch Friday, July 20, 1973

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Denver Earlington Tabor

Conservation Officer Denver Tabor drowned while attempting to rescue a boy who had fallen overboard from a boat in the Ohio River, near Dam 50.

Officer Tabor and another conservation officer had taken the other officer's grandson on their boat. The boy was thrown overboard when the boat struck a floating stump. Officer Tabor dove into the water and was bringing the boy back to the boat when both got caught in an eddy and were dragged below the surface. Both bodies were recovered the following day.

Officer Tabor had served with the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources for eight years. He was survived by his wife, daughter, son, mother, and two siblings.


  • Age 35
  • Tour 8 years
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Drowned

water rescue

Most Recent Reflection

View all 14 Reflections

Denver Tabor was known to me as “Uncke Den”. What the end of watch doesn’t tell you about him is that he and his partner were working on the Ohio River. His partner’s grandson was with them. Their boat hit something in the river and the boy was knocked overboard. Without a moment to think, my uncle went into the river to retrieve the boy. As his partner held out an oar, and my uncle, with boy in his grasp, reached for it, an eddy sucked him and the boy down under the water. My uncle could’ve saved himself, but he wouldn’t release the child and they both drowned. My daddy told me that when they were found the next day, my uncle still had the boy in his arms. My Uncle Den left behind the love of his life, Linda, and two young children. He left a hole in our family that still exists 47 years later.

Natalie McPherson

July 20, 2020

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