Thomas "Tommy" John Darrah, 59, died peacefully on March 28, 2013, in Bloomingdale at his family's homestead, surrounded by his loving family after fighting a brave battle against cancer.
Tommy, the third of eight children, was born in Saranac Lake to Belva Jean (Farmer) Darrah and the late Ralph Leonard Darrah. He attended elementary school at St. Bernard's Catholic School, and after the family moved to Bloomingdale, in 1966, he attended school in the Saranac Lake Central School District.
He resided briefly in Milford, Conn., and then enlisted in the United States Army. After his military service, he returned to Bloomingdale, where he was employed at Hoyt's Chrysler/Dodge/Plymouth in Saranac Lake as an auto body repairman. In 1972, he met his first wife, Barbara Jean (Callaghan), and they were married on Sept. 1, 1973. They resided in Poughkeepsie, where he worked for Paintmaster Autobody. In 1974 they returned to Bloomingdale, where Tom was employed by Charles Hinds Chevrolet, Oldsmobile, Cadillac in Ray Brook. In October 1975, Tommy and his brother, Wayne, opened Darrah's Body Shop, located on Main Street in Bloomingdale. The brothers were third-generation auto body repairmen, having learned the trade from their father, Ralph "Teet" Darrah, and grandfather, Wayne P. Darrah. The business succeeded quickly, and with continued growth, they then leased the auto body repair shop located behind Davy Chevrolet, Cadillac, Oldsmobile, Ray Brook, then moved the business to Wesvalley Road, Lake Placid, and finally purchased property in Lake Placid, which is currently Darrah and Darrah Autobody Repair at the bottom of Mill Hill.
Tommy took great interest in creative cooking and was a self-taught chef for several years. In 1990, he purchased and ran the Steakside Restaurant in Bloomingdale. Tommy married his second wife, Jeannie L. (Gillespie) Darrah, on Dec. 17, 1995. Tom and Jeannie ran the Steakside Restaurant in Bloomingdale and the Raindancer Restaurant in Saranac Lake throughout the 1990s.
One of Tommy's greatest accomplishments occurred on May 21, 1982, at 2:31 a.m., when, en route to the hospital, he delivered his third son, Benjamin Sean, who was born in the car on Trudeau Road.
Tom also enjoyed camping, making spaghetti sauce, canning pickles, food shopping, gardening, diagnosing, fixing, programming and building computers, playing practical jokes, bartending at La Bella restaurant, going to church with his brother, Stuart, chatting with friends, of whom there were many, watching television and helping anyone who needed anything, including giving the shirt off his back.
Survivors include his wife of 17 years, Jeannie L. Darrah, Saranac Lake; his previous wife of 19 years, Barbara J. Darrah, Bloomingdale; their four sons: Daniel T. Darrah and his wife Kirsten of Peru, Matthew B. Darrah of Bloomingdale, Benjamin S. Darrah of Kennebunk, Maine, and Thomas J. Darrah Jr. of Bloomingdale; stepson Aaron S. Gillespie and his wife Kate, of Saranac Lake; grandchildren: Cole G. Darrah, Alysa P. Darrah, and Bryce D. Darrah; his mother, Belva Jean Darrah of Bloomingdale; six brothers: Wayne A. Darrah and his wife Brenda of Bloomingdale, David R. Darrah and partner Gail Lozier of Plattsburgh, Scott D. Darrah and partner Donna Sayles of Saranac Lake, Stuart J. Darrah and his wife Tracy of Bloomingdale, and Ronald P. Darrah and his wife Mia of Bloomingdale; one sister, Marianne T. Ahern and her husband James, of Saranac; mother-in-law Marie Tiblis, of Lake Placid; sisters-in-law Sandra M. Cimbrec and her husband John, of Plattsburgh, and Carol A. Eldridge and her husband William "Sarge," of Bloomingdale; brother-in law Joseph C. Patnode and his partner Jessie Thayer, of Lake Placid; close family member Rocky (Linda) Cimbrec, of Pennsylvania; several dear nieces, nephews and cousins; and his cat, Simba.
Tommy was predeceased by his father, Ralph L. Darrah, in 1984, and one sister, Susan Lynn Darrah, in 1961.
Calling hours will be held from 2 to 4 and 6 to 8 p.m. Monday, April 1, at Fortune-Keough Funeral Home, 20 Church St., Saranac Lake. A funeral Mass will be held at 11 a.m. Tuesday, April 2, at St. Paul's Church, Bloomingdale, with the Rev. Bill Muench officiating.
Those wishing to remember Tom Darrah may make donations in his memory to High Peaks Hospice. Family and friends are also encouraged to sign the online guestbook (www.fortunekeoughfuneralhome.com) expressing their condolences or sharing their most memorable recollection about Tom.