John was hired as a firefighter for the Town of Hull on August 15‚ 1989. His endearing personality‚ compassion‚ and mechanical ability made him a valuable asset to the department.
John was 35 years old when he was injured while fighting a multiple alarm fire on June 29‚ 1999. A gun had been abandoned in a garage wall‚ and when the gun heated from the intense fire‚ the bullet discharged and severed his spine‚ leaving him confined to a wheelchair for the rest of his life.
John could set his mind to do just about anything and excel at it. Before his accident‚ he was quite skilled in operating and repairing boats and was proficient at auto body and repair work. He developed a love for stock car racing and built his own car‚ which he successfully raced in Massachusetts and New Hampshire.
John was the man you wanted with you at a structure fire. He knew his job and performed his duties with the skill of someone way beyond his years. If it had not been for the accident‚ he would be a paramedic and an officer today. He saved many lives and received commendations‚ including an award from the governor of Massachusetts for heroism during the fire where he was injured. John was a torchbearer for the tenth anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act and testified on behalf of Bill 1194.
John never let his injuries hold him back‚ even though he was constantly in pain. Medically‚ he never gained the quality of life he strived for. His love of his family was the major factor that kept him alive. He was still a father to his children and a role model for his niece‚ Colby. He was more of a hero for his life after the accident than for what happened that day. His sense of humor was renowned. He always had a smile and some funny tale to tell. If there was a practical joke performed on someone‚ he was part of it.
John is survived by his daughter‚ Jamie (16); twin sons‚ Daniel and Sean (14); his mother‚ Janet; sister‚ Shelly; and Shelly’s children‚ Colby and Tyler. John’s mother became his primary caregiver after the accident‚ and she cared for him with the same dedication John had for his profession. John also received support from friends‚ coworkers‚ and the town.
John Clasby died twice‚ once on that fateful day‚ and finally on November 11‚ 2008. He was honored with one of the highest tributes in the history of the Town of Hull and was laid to rest in the Hull Cemetery‚ next to his father and brother.