Thomas Santon Tipple

Thomas Santon Tipple

GUILDERLAND — Thomas Santon Tipple, who spent nearly 40 years in state service and, after that, led the Community Caregivers, died peacefully on Saturday, Jan. 27, 2018 at the Hospice Inn at St. Peter’s in Albany after a heroic battle with pancreatic cancer. He was the beloved husband of Adrienne Melissa Johnson. He was 64.

“Always amiable, a good friend to all his friends, he conducted his entire life with kindness, respect, and good will towards all,” his family wrote in a tribute. “He will be missed forever.”

His brother Terence Tipple noted, “He lived his life with moral clarity. He had a set of principles, and he lived by them.”

Born in Cooperstown, New York on May 15, 1953, Mr. Tipple was the son of Anita (née Santon) and the late Ralph Tipple. He was raised and educated in Delmar, graduating from Bethlehem Central High School.

After completing a bachelor’s degree at the State University of New York College at Brockport, he went on to graduate school at the University at Albany, receiving a master’s degree in business administration in 1983.

“The best day of his life was August 23, 1980 when he married Melissa Johnson, of Elmira, New York,  and they lived happily ever after,” his family wrote.

Mr. Tipple began nearly 40 years of state service by spending his college summers painting bridges for the New York State Thruway Authority. For many years, it was a source of pain to him to see the Thruway bridges in Rensselaer County in need of his ministrations.

After graduation, he spent several years at the New York State Division for Youth as a labor-relations specialist; then, in 1984, joined the State Division of the Budget. He received a series of promotions and  was an assistant unit chief when he left in 2007.

“A true budget person, he often referred to many millions, if not billions, of state spending dollars as just ‘rounding,’” his family wrote.

Leaving Budget, he became the deputy commissioner for Administration at the New York State Office of Children and Family Services. By 2007, the old Division for Youth had become part of Children and Family Services, and many colleagues from decades earlier were still there, and loudly applauded his return when he was introduced as the new deputy commissioner.

“Humble to a fault, this embarrassed him,” his family wrote.

Mr. Tipple retired from state service in 2011 and had the good fortune to become the executive director of not-for-profit Community Caregivers Inc. in Guilderland; its mission of “neighbors helping neighbors”  was something he believed in with all his heart. “He was very happy,” his family wrote, “that the nearly all-volunteer organization was in good financial condition when he left.  

“When he finally really stopped working in 2013, he was able to pursue his numerous and varied interests, which included but were not limited to: golf as a longtime member of Pinehaven Country Club; taking care of his mother (dinner out every Tuesday); endless research on the technical aspects of new golf equipment; catering to his wife’s every wish; horse racing at Saratoga and Ocala, Florida; reading nonfiction; keeping up with all sports news; rooting for the NY Giants (tough to do given their abysmal 2017 season), standing up when Aaron Judge came to the plate; yoga; winters in Florida in The Villages with newfound friends and golf buddies, and playing bridge reluctantly with his wife (and managing to stifle himself until they got in the car), and this is all just a sample.

“He loved and was loved by his entire family.”


Thomas Santon Tipple is survived by his wife, Melissa; his mother, Anita S. Tipple; his brothers, Ralph T. Tipple and his wife, Suzanne, and Terence J. Tipple and his wife, Joan; and his nephews, David Tipple and his wife, Chenin, Matthew Tipple and his wife, Julie, Michael Tipple and his wife, Dayani, and Zachary Tipple, his six great-nephews and one great-niece; and his sister-in-law Ellie Schell.

He loved his cocker spaniel, Emma.

His father, Ralph A. Tipple, died before him.

Much gratitude to Dr. Vittorio Fiorenza and Dr. Craig Maier for years of dedicated care; Sister Mary Frederick, SNJM, for her constant prayers and many cheering visits; and the attentive nurses at St. Peter’s Hospital.

A Mass of Christian Burial and memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. on May 12 at St. Thomas the Apostle Church in Delmar; a further announcement will be made. Interment will be private.

Memorial contributions may be made to Community Caregivers, 2021 Western Ave., Suite 104, Albany NY 12203 or to Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.

Donations in his memory are allocated to support MSK’s Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund and should be made payable to Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and mailed to: MSKCC, Attention: Emily Carter, 885 Second Ave. 7th Floor,  New York, NY 10017.  Please indicate on the check that the gift is in Tom Tipple’s memory.

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