National Fallen Firefighters Foundation

Roll of Honor

Age: 31
Year of Death: 1996

Jack Lee Hone

Jack Lee Hone was a proud and valued member of the Santa Monica Fire Department from 1986-1996, until, sadly, his life was cut short by lung cancer.

Jack was survived by his wife Shelley and their two daughters, Jessica and Hanna, who were only 3 and 1 years old when he died, his parents Mel Hone (Peggy) and Betty Walker (John), three brothers, Jim, John and Jay and three stepbrothers Steve, Brian and Wally.

He put up the most courageous fight until he lost his battle on March 18, 1996. He was only 31 years old. Chief Berardinelli said “The way he lived his life was an example. He showed a tremendous amount of strength and courage. The best way to describe Jack was, he was a man of integrity.”

“After his wife and children, firefighting was the highest priority in his life.” said Hone’s brother Jim, Deputy Fire Chief. “He loved his job.”

He loved being a tiller man on a ladder truck. Jack had just finished his training on hazardous materials and was studying for the captain’s exam when he was diagnosed with lung cancer.

You could always hear him before you could see him! Full of life, and often the life of the party, Jack also had an incredible work ethic. If you ever needed an extra hand, or a thinker outside the box to solve a problem, he was that, too. He made everyone’s life better because he was in it.

Jack’s positive attitude towards life was infectious. He was extremely charismatic and very sincere. Age eight or eighty, he treated everyone the same. He had an incredible sense of humor; if you were in a room with him, you were smiling.

When the Northridge earthquake pummeled Santa Monica in 1994, Hone ultimately decided he could best help by backing up the dispatcher on duty, who was overwhelmed with emergency calls, rather than charging out to the streets. It proved to be a clever call.

“It was a good thing he was there,” Jim Hone said: A building next to Fire Station 1, where Jack was based, had caught fire and some flames had swept into the station through an open window. Hone, alone but for the dispatcher, single- handedly saved the building.

His favorite word was “fantastic,” an adjective he used to describe just about everything. That was how he truly felt.

As a child he had no fear, and a never-ending love for skateboarding, soccer, baseball, water skiing and later on, motocross, quadding, helicopter skiing, and
golf! Jack had an innately curious nature, and he wanted to learn and participate in just about everything that was presented to him.

“Think of him often, especially when you laugh. I know he would have liked it that way.” said Deputy Fire Chief Berardinelli at his memorial service.

Jack would be thrilled to know that he passed his curiosity and love of adventure onto his children. Jessica received her degree in Criminal law and Criminal Justice and is now a dispatcher for the Phoenix Fire Department. Hanna received her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine and practices as a large animal veterinarian in Corner Brook, Newfoundland. They love and miss their wonderful dad to this day.

That’s “the magic of Jack.”

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