David M. Lachenauer was born June 27, 1956, in Watertown, New York, to George and Helen Lachenauer. He graduated from Watertown High School in 1974, received an associate degree from Corning Community College, and had almost completed a bachelor’s degree at Empire State College when he became ill. One of his proudest accomplishments was his graduation from the Executive Fire Officer Program.
Dave joined the City of Watertown Fire Department in 1985 and was a dedicated part of the department for over 32 years. He was a battalion chief, president of the union for 13 years, and treasurer for four years. He served as 2nd District vice president of New York State Professional Firefighters Association, IAFF state representative, 2nd District health and safety representative for NYSPFF Association, trustee for Jefferson, St. Lawrence, and Lewis Counties Central Trades, and fire coordinator for the Jefferson County HAZMAT Team. He also found time to be an EMT instructor/coordinator, code enforcement officer, building inspector, zoning enforcement officer, installer for Hayes Fire Equipment, chief of Three Mile Bay Volunteer Fire Department, and a driver for Anchor Motor Freight.
Dave loved and was deeply devoted to his wife of 30 years, Cindy; children, Jason West, Sarah Burke, Jamie Jesmer, and Laura Myers; and grandchildren, Tyler West, Dekota West, Garrett West, and Liam Lachenauer. He was so proud of his family. One of his goals was to make sure his men (his second family) were safe and made it home to their families at the end of their shift. The men knew they could come to him with any question, and he would give them an honest and straightforward answer. Dave did not beat around the bush.
On 9/11/2001, Dave was at Fort Totten for First Line Supervisors Training, when the FDNY came and asked the class for help. They were sent down before the second building collapsed. This experience changed Dave forever, giving him greater appreciation of his family and life and the drive to learn more about this changing world. He encouraged our children to pursue a higher education, and seeing all four of them achieve this goal gave him a thirst for more knowledge and opportunity. He felt you had to practice what you preach.
Dave loved hunting, fishing, and going to auctions. He was a formidable card player and had a wicked sense of humor. To this day, people come up to me telling me how he helped them. He was tough as nails on the outside, with a heart as big as all outdoors. No words can express how much we miss him, but we know he will always watch over us and how blessed we were to have him in our lives.