George D. Eysser was born in the Bronx on August 27, 1939. His father, Herbert, was a member of the New York Fire Patrol, and his godfather was a fireman. George’s interest in the fire department started early in life when he and his brother, Herbert, “buffed” and rode with local fire companies.
George enlisted in the United States Navy in 1958 and was honorably discharged from the reserves in 1964. He was appointed to the FDNY in 1962, which marked the start of his 40-year career. He was first assigned to Ladder 25 on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. Six months later he transferred to 4 Truck in the heart of Midtown, later worked in the Safety Battalion, and finally Ladder 105 in Brooklyn.
In 1974, he was promoted to lieutenant and assigned to Ladder 124, “the Tonka Truck,” in Bushwick, Brooklyn, where he spent the height of the FDNY “war years.” He was promoted to captain in 1983 and served as the captain of Ladder 6 in Chinatown, where he was the company commander for 10 years. He was promoted to battalion chief in 1994, served as the chief of Marine Operations, and was eventually assigned to Battalion 35 in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
In May 2001, Battalion Chief George Eysser had a medical emergency while operating at a 2nd alarm fire. He narrowly survived that incident, but it would mean the end of his career. He submitted his retirement papers in June 2001, but the events of 9/11 stopped that process. He returned to Marine Operations and spent months helping with the rescue and recovery efforts at Ground Zero. He also spent countless hours escorting families via fireboat to the World Trade Center site.
George dedicated his life to the New York City Fire Department and the people it served. He came to work focused on what was important to the job—the people. He trained members and passed along his knowledge and experience. He spoke of the traditions of the job and how important they are. A renowned historian of the FDNY, he studied and passed along the department’s history. George did his part to leave the job better than he found it, and he never forgot how important it was to take care of his people and the families. He retired in summer 2002. Unfortunately, he became ill with a 9/11 related cancer and passed away on June 13, 2015.
He is survived by his wife of 46 years, Elaine; his son, FDNY Battalion Chief Christopher Eysser (Patty); his daughter, Laura Marich (Tom); and his grandchildren, Matthew, Brooke, Alyse, and Ryan.