Brent A. Upton
- Raleigh Fire Department
- North Carolina
- Age: 38
- Year of Death: 2021
On March 17, 2021, Brent Allen Upton, loving husband and father, passed away at the age of 38 after a valiant, lengthy battle with occupational cancer. Brent was born on December 15, 1982, in Raleigh, North Carolina, to Bruce and Melanie Upton. He was a proud graduate of North Carolina State University and a true, lifelong Wolfpack fan.
He began his career as a firefighter with Raleigh Fire Department in September 2006 as a member of the 33rd Fire Academy. He was promoted to first class firefighter in March 2010, senior firefighter in March 2013, and lieutenant in December 2015. He also served on the HAZMAT team for a long tenure of his career.
Brent was preparing for his next rank when he was suddenly diagnosed with advanced esophageal cancer in May 2018. Following a medical retirement in January 2019, he returned to the department in a part-time administrative role assisting the HAZMAT team. Despite his shy nature and deep desire to not let cancer define him, he openly shared his story in an effort to bring awareness to the growing issue of cancer in the fire service. Additionally, he assisted in advocacy efforts for legislation in North Carolina to provide enhanced benefits to firefighters diagnosed with cancer. This legislation finally passed in the year following his death.
Those who knew Brent experienced his innate ability to light up every room he entered. He was kind, caring, and compassionate, always putting others first. His incredible wit and infectious laugh could put a smile on anyone’s face. And his amazing zest for life and adventure were contagious to those around him.
Brent will be remembered for many things, but being a dedicated father and husband was his greatest accomplishment. He was adored by his wife, Catherine, and daughter, Ella. Anyone who was lucky enough to witness his time with Catherine and Ella could easily see the love he had for them. His family was his top priority.
Brent lived his entire life in Raleigh, North Carolina, and loved the city he chose to proudly serve. He blessed his family as a wonderful father, husband, son, brother, uncle, and cousin. He is deeply loved and missed by all and will forever be our hero.