Former Tupper educator, guide killed by falling tree

‘Lynn’ Malerba remembered for her kind spirit

A photo from Venessa “Lynn” Malerba’s Facebook shows her love of hiking and the outdoors. (Photo provided)

TUPPER LAKE — A former physical education teacher and coach in this town’s school district died while camping in the Pharoah Lakes Wilderness near Ticonderoga.

Venessa “Lynn” Malerba, 60, was camping at Rock Pond, near Putnam Pond Campground, amid high winds Friday night and early Saturday when a large tree fell and pinned her to the ground.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation said its dispatch was notified at 1 a.m., but DEC forest rangers were not able to make it to Malerba until 2:30 because of the felled trees and flooding. Three rangers using a boat cut through the trees and worked with the local fire department to remove the tree.

DEC said Malerba was placed on a stretcher, carried across the pond on a boat and then flown by helicopter to the University of Vermont Medical Center in Burlington, Vermont. She arrived in critical condition and died later at the hospital.

Born in Lake Placid and a resident of Tupper Lake, Malerba was an educator and coached a number of sports for more than two decades in Tupper Lake and Long Lake. She retired in 2000 to run Adirondack Connections Guide Service in Tupper Lake.

“She absolutely loved the Adirondacks and loved teaching people about them. She had the spirit and heart of a true Adirondacker,” Anne Maltais, Malerba’s longtime golf partner and kayaking instructor wrote in a private message on Facebook.

An avid hiker, kyaker, skiier, golfer and outdoorswoman, Malerba loved her work in retirement.

“What I can say is she is one of the best female athletes in Tupper,” Glenn Poirier, who graduated a year behind Malerba, wrote in a private Facebook message. “She loved the outdoors and really found her niche with her outing service.”

An excited and encouraging educator, she also was loved in her many positions in Tupper and Long Lake schools. Former students visited her Facebook page on Tuesday, May 8, Teacher Appreciation Day, to celebrate her life and say how much they appreciated her, even if they never had a chance when she was alive.

Former student Jen Auclair recalled in a Facebook post how Malerba was a positive force throughout her life, helping her get better in volleyball, jumping on the sidelines in soccer and sending her encouraging messages when she moved out of the state.

“You were the one teacher who saw something in me that I did not. You gave me the confidence as a high school freshman to come out of my shell,” Auclair wrote on Facebook. “No matter how young or how old you are, having someone in your corner cheering you on means so much.”