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National Fallen Firefighters Foundation

Roll of Honor

Age: 60
Year of Death: 2002

Clarence F. Birchmore

Submitted by his wife

Clarence Birchmore was the heart of his family‚ his friends‚ his community and his fire department. He died March 16‚ 2002 while responding to a fire call. He is sadly missed‚ but his memory lives on.

Clarence was a 35-year member of the Whiting Fire Department‚ joining shortly after it was established. He served as chief for 30 years. His long and tireless devotion and dedication to the fire department and to the community will be long remembered. He also served as Whiting’s town moderator for several years.

He is remembered as a good friend to many. Seldom would he meet a car on the road without giving a wave of his hand in greeting. Often‚ it would turn out that he didn’t even know the person. It never stopped him from waving.

He never thought of his employment for the Crawford family at Scapeland Farm as a job. He greeted everyday with a new sense of wonder. Each Fall he loved to hunt whitetail deer with his sons and buddies‚ each year looking for the big one. He didn’t really care if he was the one who got it‚ but wanted to share the thrill of the hunt and being in the woods. In the spring it was maple sugaring. He was always in search of the perfect ‘run’ and the desire to make the ‘fanciest’ syrup possible. He put in long hours without complaint. In fact‚ he rarely complained about anything; he truly enjoyed each and every day. He always saw the best in people. He taught us all so much. Now we wish we had listened more closely.

He was so devoted to me‚ Charlotte‚ his wife of 41 years‚ our sons Christopher and his wife Lisa‚ Kevin and his wife Lynda‚ and our daughter Angela Bissonette. He never missed an opportunity to express his pride in all of us. He said he was the luckiest person alive to have 6 wonderful grandchildren‚ thinking each of them‚ a special gift. They were the light of his life. I can see him now‚ cuddling the last grandchild‚ born just a month before he died. Four sisters also survive him. His younger brother‚ Floyd died in 1996 while fighting a barn fire at his home. Incidentally‚ Clarence also had a grandfather who died fighting a fire. He leaves a special sister-in-law‚ Sheila Turpin.

The Clarence F. Birchmore Memorial Scholarship Fund has been established in his name. A committee was formed to raise funds for it. The first awards were given to two high school seniors this year. The basis of the awards is public service and volunteerism‚ both of which Clarence always exhibited. We know he would be amazed at the outpouring of tributes and acknowledgement of his life. He always thought of himself as a simple person doing what needed to be done with no thought of honor or spotlight. The Scholarship is a fitting tribute. He will live on.

From the song‚ To Where You Are:

Fly me up to where you are above a distant star.
I wish upon tonight to see you smile.
If only for a while to know you’re there.
A breath away’s not far to where you are.
I know you’re there.

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