W. Jack Northam

Submitted by his daughter

Jack Northam had been a member with the Laurel Fire Department for thirty years. He collapsed at the Fire House on a Monday evening. Laurel had just been toned out for a Motor Vehicle Accident and Dad had been working on a truck. He went to put his tools away in order to respond and collapsed. He was later pronounced at Nanticoke Memorial Hospital.

My dad had just turned 55 and my parents had just celebrated their 33rd wedding anniversary. What made it even harder was the fact that he died on his neice’s birthday and the day after Father’s Day.

My Mother and I are very proud of the accomplishments of my Dad. He was very active in our Fire Department and had served as President‚ Vice President and Secretary. On the other side of the wall‚ so to speak‚ he had served as Chief Engineer and Ambulance Captain. He had also served as President of the Sussex County Volunteer Firemen’s Association.

His service to the community did not end with the Fire Service. He served on the Laurel Town Council for almost 18 years and was the President of the Council for several of those years.

Prior to becoming disabled‚ he had worked for the railroad. First for Pennsylvania and then for Con-Rail. He worked for Potomac Fire Equipment for a few years and had then purchased a school bus and drove for our local school district. He loved the kids on his bus and the highlight of dinner was to hear about his bus runs for the day.

The fire service was Dad’s first hobby but he had many other interests including camping‚ fishing‚ hunting in his earlier years‚ and his model train collection. Part of the garage became the ‘train room’ where he worked many hours building and constructing. He was very proud of his collection and was even featured in the local paper with his trains.

Jack was a big man with a big presence. You always knew where you stood with him and if he liked you‚ you were a friend for life. If he did not like you‚ you knew it and you knew the reasons why. He never pulled any punches and he was a straight shooter. He knew how to run things and get the job done and he could certainly burn up the telephone making things happen! When he died someone asked me about his rolodex and my reply was that unfortunately‚ his rolodex was in his head.

There is not enough space to talk about all the stories surrounding Jack. Misfortune often followed him and I always liked to turn that into a funny story. We have had many laughs at his expense at home and at the Fire House. He was accident prone and thought that he could sing. Nuf said! Even after eight years he still is a big part of the conversation on many days. When someone comes up to me and starts talking about Jack it makes me very proud. He touched alot of people. I hope to have a little of his diplomacy and tact at some point in my life.

Jack is survived by his wife Dixie‚ daughter Stacy‚ son-in-law Todd‚ sister Judy‚ and niece Jennifer. He is also survived by his extended Fire Company family. My husband became a member of the Laurel Fire Department when we married and I know that Dad would be very proud of him. My mom‚ aunt and I are members of the Auxiliary and I am following in my dad’s footsteps in that I am currently President of the County Auxiliary.

Jack lives on in our memories‚ hearts‚ conversations and ‘Service to Others.’ He was a true representation of this statement.