Robert W. ‘Bob’ Phillips

Robert W. 'Bob' Phillips

Submitted by his Wife

Robert W. ‘Bob’ Phillips
Athelstane Volunteer Fire Department
Classification: Volunteer
Rank: Firefighter
Date of Death: October 26‚ 2007
Age: 64

Bob started his volunteer fire fighting experience in September 1966 when he bought his first home in the City of Delafield in Wisconsin. He joined their Fire Department to help the small‚ rural Community. He worked his way up from Rookie‚ Lieutenant‚ Captain and First Assistant Chief and remained committed for the next 23 years.

As a volunteer department in the 60’s and 70’s we did not have a Central or Countywide dispatch center. The County Sheriff provided the ‘first responder’. As an Officer your shift was 24 – 7 on‚ no time off. You had the fire calls come directly into your home and you ‘babysat’ that phone one night a week and one weekend a month. To get work done outside during your ‘tour of duty’ you installed an outside bell that would ring when the phone did.

In those days if you were at a restaurant or local store‚ you could ‘run off’ when duty called and return later to pay your bill or receive your change.

Times did change and volunteers became paid-on-call employees of the Municipality and later this department hired a full time Chief. Along came countywide dispatch systems and 911.

As a member of this Department‚ in 1982‚ Bob worked on a truck committee to spec out and build fire apparatus. Because of this experience he joined Johnson Fire Equipment and Marion Body Works from Clintonville and Marion‚ Wisconsin and continued to sell fire apparatus until his death.

Bob retired from his full time job in June 2006. In addition to the sales of fire apparatus he began to sell fire gear and equipment for Fleming’s Fire 1‚ Inc. and also enjoyed doing fire inspections for Fire Inspections Services‚ Inc.

He was able to fulfill his adult‚ life long‚ dream of owning a cabin in the North woods. He purchased his little piece of heaven in 2001. He loved the hunting and fishing. He joined the Athelstane Fire Department in 2004. As was Bob’s passion for small rural areas‚ so was his need for the camaraderie that the Athelstane’s department provided him with abundance.

His retirement was very short but he died a happy man. He was on a fire scene which is where he wanted to be‚ he was with people he liked to be with and the medical care was at his side. Bob died of a heart attack wearing his fireman’s boots‚ pants and jacket.

Bob is survived by his wife‚ Kathy‚ of 42 years‚ one daughter Kimberly‚ and 2 grandchildren‚ Hannah 10 and Skyler 5. His family is comforted knowing that‚ although more than 100 fire related deaths in 2007 are far too many‚ Bob will take the time to meet each and everyone of them and enjoy the camaraderie of the Heaven City Fire Department.