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Thomas Neff, 76, Of Ossining

OSSINING, N.Y. – Thomas John Neff, 76, of Ossining, died Monday, Dec. 7.

Born Sept. 29, 1939, in Ossining, he was the only child of Thomas Joseph and Gertrude Emily (Thomas) Neff.

A graduate of Ossining High School, he worked as an auto mechanic and USPS letter carrier before proudly serving with the U.S. Army.

Made possibly by the then re-enacted GI Bill, he entered Paul Smith’s College and later the University of New Hampshire, where he earned a master’s degree in forestry. He was an honor student and a member of Xi Sigma Phi, the national forestry honor society.

He began his 25-year forestry career as a county forester in New Hampshire, later establishing his own forest resources consulting firm while contributing as a lecturer at the University of New Hampshire.

His second career was as an auto racing writer; his written contributions enhanced by the experience he gained while spending many years as a modified race car fabricator and owner.

Following retirement, he was a 3-mile-a-day walker, enjoyed working on his woodlots, improving them while harvesting wood for heating his home. In his last years, he taught himself to play clarinet, driven by his long appreciation of circa-1930 American jazz, inspired by artists such as Bix Biederbeck, Jack Teagarden and the bands of Ben Pollack and Frankie Trumbauer. He also pursued his passion for writing, history and research, preparing historical manuscripts of communities in which he lived – his native hamlet of Crotonville, as well as two New Hampshire towns, Nottingham and Peterborough.

He is survived by his wife of 52 years, Patricia Margaret (O’Connell) Neff.

Services will be private for the family. Jellison Funeral Home and Cremation Services is assisting the family with arrangements.

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