SOUTH SALEM, N.Y. – Thomas Herzog, an educator, a former town supervisor and one of Lewisboro’s most-dedicated community servants, died Sunday, Jan. 27, at the age of 83.
Throughout his lifetime in Lewisboro, Tom Herzog, as he was better known, accepted many opportunities to serve. According to friends, co-workers and decades-old news reports, Herzog wore many hats, sometimes as president/chair, for the South Salem Library; the Jay Players (theater group); Lewisboro youth sports groups; the South Salem Fire Department; the Lewisboro Library; and most recently with the Housing Committee.
“You’re going to have a hard time finding something he wasn’t a member of,” said Supervisor Peter Parsons, who worked closely with Herzog on several occasions. In 2011, when Parsons was elected supervisor, Herzog served on his transition team.
“He was extremely helpful in giving me advice on how to do this job,” Parsons said. “Tom was invaluable in what would otherwise have been a difficult transition. And he was just a heck of a nice guy. He was a gentleman.”
Herzog was also an elementary school teacher and principal of Pequenakonck Elementary School in North Salem.
Involved in politics throughout his life, Herzog was eventually elected town supervisor, serving from 1998 to 2003.
“He was intensely involved in the community of Lewisboro,” Parsons said. “He really cared about our town. Anything he could do to help this town, he really got into. He was particularly keen on building our Parks and Recreation Department.”
Dana Mayclim, superintendent of parks and recreation, said she got her start in town government in 1999, during Herzog’s administration. She described him as a “genuine person” with a “heart of gold.”
“He put people first,” Mayclim said. “All the time working for him, he always asked, ‘How are you doing?’ before asking ‘Did you get this project done for me?’ He always cared about you as a person first.”
Mayclim said Herzog saw potential in her that even she didn’t see.
“He pushed me to move up the ranks faster than I thought I was ready for,” said Mayclim, who added she was “shocked and saddened” by Herzog’s death. “We lost a great guy for this town.”
Mayclim said Herzog continued to assist the Parks and Recreation Department after leaving office.
During Herzog’s tenure, benefits to the Parks and Recreation Department included the creation of the annual fireworks show at Onatru Farm Park; building a pavilion at Onatru; and building camp offices at Lewisboro Town Park. He also took advantage of the programs, managing and pitching in the adult softball program.
Mike Lynch, chief of the South Salem Fire Department, said he was long-time friends with Herzog, who joined the fire department in 1961. He remained active in the department in his later years, volunteering as co-chair of the Carnival Committee.
He said Herzog was passionate about baseball. He was a New York Yankees fan, coached his children in little league, and played softball into his 70s.
“Aside from his family, his next biggest passion was baseball,” Lynch said. “I would say the fire department was a close third.”
Herzog is survived his wife, Mary, and their three kids, Charles, James and William.
Lynch and Herzog ran together in 1995 to fill unexpired terms of councilmembers who had resigned. They both won seats on the board.
He praised Herzog’s efforts in promoting Westchester Emergency Medical Services and for negotiating a better parking situation with the MTA at the Goldens Bridge train station.
“The guy, people underestimate how smart he was,” Lynch said. “He was an extremely smart guy, but he was very low-key. He was good guy.”
Mike Harris, of the South Salem Fire Department, described Herzog as a “very private guy,” Harris said, “and that’s reflected by not much of an obituary or service.”
“But service to Lewisboro was obviously in his heart,” Harris continued.
Parsons confirmed that no services were held for Herzog but said a celebration of his life will be held at some point.
Parsons touted Herzog’s accomplishments during his six years of office: the creation of the Old Field Preserve in Waccabuc; an agreement to maintain Echo Farm in South Salem as a farm; and improvement of the playing fields at Onatru.
“He was supervisor for six years, and it was six years of achievement,” Parsons said. “He left the town a better place to live than when he began as supervisor.”