Submitted by his Daughter
My father had 22 years of service as a HazMat Specialist Naval Officer. His last port was Whidbey Island Naval Air Station‚ WA. He had several letters of commendation‚ one citing his dedication to HazMat‚ two awards for performance above and beyond the call of duty and two letters for outstanding job performance in 1981 and 1982.
He held a black belt in Isshinryu and Mudokwan Karate; he was an avid writer of philosophy and poetry; an active grandfather; train/coin/stamp collecting; amazing artist; was a funny‚ funny‚ practical joker and was always for the underdog.He was constantly working toward the improvement and safety of his profession as a firefighter‚ occasionally to the disliking of his superiors. Ultimately‚ his death made that happen‚ so I will consider that his professional achievement.
He is survived by his (4) daughters respectively: Tammy Ann Cougan and her (3) sons: Casey‚ Joe‚ and Jake; Tracy Ell Gelenius and her (2) sons: Tyler and Ryan; Terry Lea Gelenius and her (2) children: Hillary and Alex and Tricia Rae Gelenius.
My father was one of the most positive people I have known in my lifetime. He encouraged his daughters to be all that life allowed and then push for more. His grandchildren were of the utmost pride to him. He strived for us girls to bring our children to the firehouse so that they could play on the engines and run around. I spent several hours in the watch room when it was his time and followed him to several fire/runs while in high school and when my sons were young. Jake‚ whose father joined IFD through the encouragement of Dad‚ spent many nights at the firehouse with his father. My oldest‚ Tyler‚ and Tammy’s middle Joe are both in pursuit of firefighting. My father’s namesake‚ out of Bayonne‚ NJ‚ was a fire chief for Bayonne for some time.
Firefighting has been in our family for many years. I miss my father every single day of my life. I still cry speaking of my father. I spoke to him upwards of 10 times a day. He was my father‚ my mentor‚ and my best friend.
I LOVE YOU DAD!