Edward F Jacoby, Jr., 67, of Clove Valley, New York, one of the nation’s most experienced and respected emergency managers, died after a long illness. Mr. Jacoby held several executive level positions within New York's State government. Ed's career working for state government spanned 44 years, during which time he led several state organizations. He was a visionary and leader in the evolution of wildfire prevention, protection and emergency management and played significant roles in developing policy, direction and professional discipline. Ed was currently serving as Governor Pataki's appointed commissioner for the Northeastern Forest Fire Protection Commission, serving New York, the six New England states and the Canadian provinces of Quebec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, in wildfire prevention, protection and education.
Ed started his career with the N.Y.S. Conservation Department, working with wildfire habitat and research projects such as white-tail deer trapping, tagging and research project. In 1967 Ed accepted and was appointed as a New York State Forest Ranger, for the lower Dutchess; Northern Putnam counties where he worked with local fire companies and other organizations to reduce losses due to forest fire prevention efforts. In 1980 Ed was promoted to the position of Captain for the Forest Rangers in the northern Catskills. In 1983 Ed was assigned an additional five county area between the Delaware and Mohawk River area. In 1984 Ed was again promoted, to the position of Major, then in 1985 Ed was appointed to the position of Superintendent for all of New York State Forest Rangers where he served until 1995. As Superintendent of the Forest Rangers Ed developed and implemented innovative programs such as "HEART", the statewide Helicopter Emergency Air Rescue Team, as well as specialized airborne programs for white water rivers and thin ice rescue. Both of these programs have saved countless lives during wildland search and rescue programs.
In 1995 Ed was appointed to the position of Director for the N.Y.S. Emergency Management Office by Governor George E. Pataki. This after his role as the state coordinating officer in the battle and successful suppression of the Sunrise Fire Complex on Long Island, the most dangerous wildfire New York State has ever witnessed. In June 1998 Governor Pataki tapped Ed for his leadership skills and appointed him as chairman of the New York State Disaster Preparedness Commission. The Disaster Preparedness Commission is comprised of Commissioners, Directors and Chairmen of twenty-three state agencies and the American Red Cross. Among his responsibilities was the preparation of the state disaster plans, directing state disaster operations and coordinating local, state, federal and private recovery efforts. Ed either managed or supervised more than 12,000 emergency incidents throughout the Empire State during his career, bringing in more than 22 billion dollars of federal disaster assistance to its citizens.
Since 1995, Ed has managed New York's snow emergencies in Buffalo, Oswego and other areas of New York, including the blizzard of '96 which literally shut down New York and its suburbs for several days. The January floods, which impacted 41 counties and was declared a presidential disaster. He directed the response of local, state and federal agencies in the tragic crash of TWA Flight 800 off the coast of Long Island in July of 1996. Ed also directed the response of twenty-four state agencies and more than 12,000 state employees, including National Guard personnel and volunteers to the federally declared North Country Ice Storm disaster. Ed coordinated all state agency responses, search and rescue and recovery operations to the horrific terrorist attack on their World Trade Center in New York City on September 11, 2001. At its height, he coordinated the activities of more than 70 New York State agencies and nearly 17,000 state agency employees, National Guard personnel and volunteers. Ed also coordinated federal response activities with the federal emergency management agency (FEMA) and the delivery of 8.8 billion dollars in disaster relief through federal recovery programs.
Ed served as president of the National Emergency Management Association for the fiscal years 2003-2004. As such, he represented all 50 states and the territories of Guam, the Mariana and Marshall Islands, America Samoa, the U.S Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, providing leadership and expertise in comprehensive emergency management issues including home land security. In his positions, Ed testified before congress on several issues of National importance. Ed was a member of the Board of Directions of the Northeast States Emergency Consortium, the Canadian Center for Emergency Preparedness, served as advisor to the Center For Emergency Preparedness at SUNY Upstate Medical University, as well as Chairman of the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA), Independent Major Storm Review Panel. Ed was the past Chairman of the Northeast Forest Fire Supervisors and past New York State representative to the National Association of Search and Rescue.
Ed was a 50 year Life Member of the Union Vale Fire Department serving in an active duty capacity for 25 of those years. Ed was a member and past Captain of the Union Vale Fire Department Rescue Squad, past member of the Union Vale Grange, 4-H leader of the Clove Craftsman, founder and past President of the Ground Hog Soccer and Softball league. He was a member of the Valley Bible Fellowship Church and also a church trustee. Ed was preceded in death by his father, Edward F. Jacoby and his mother, Mildred E. Jacoby both of Clove Valley. He is survived by his devoted and loving wife of 46 years, Jane; his son, Edward F. Jacoby III of Mt. Vernon, Washington his wife, Julie, their two children, Rebecca and Jason; his son, Mark of Long Island and his wife, Cindy and their children, Jake and Samantha; his son, Matthew of Van Hornesville, New York and his wife, Kathy, their daughters, Elizabeth and Kathleen, son, Cody and daughter, Ashley; a daughter, Lori Pouncey of Clove Valley and her husband, Phillip and their son, Joshua; nine wonderful grandchildren, whom he adored; an inspirational Aunt, Florence Harris of Millbrook; a loyal sister, Joan VanTassell of Millbrook and four special nephews; Jeffrey, Stephen, Michael and Curtis VanTassell.