Roll of Honor

Ronald Gene Spitzer

Ronald Gene Spitzer

  • Chief
  • Rocky Top Fire Department
  • Tennessee
  • Age: 65
  • Year of Death: 2021

Ronald “Ronnie” Spitzer was a dedicated man to both his family and community. He was a firefighter for 47 years and passed at the age of 65. He began his career with the Lake City Fire Department before working most of his career for the Department of Energy K-25 and Y-12 sites. After retirement, he was called back to the Lake City Fire Department, now Rocky Top, as the fire chief.

He was married to his wife, Sandy Spitzer, for 42 years and had two children, Ronald Jr. and Ashley. Ronnie was a loving provider for his family. If he bragged about anything, it was about how proud he was of his family. One of our happiest memories with him was our Alaskan cruise in 2017. We always talked about trying to go back again one day.

When he wasn’t at work, he was generally happiest at home working around the house. He was always tinkering and could fix anything. His favorite movies were Caddyshack and Top Gun. He was the cook of the house, stealing those duties from Mom at some point years ago. He could make a mean pot of chili and was always on top of Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner.

He cared about the firefighters he worked with and treated them like family. He had started to make it a regular event to have the firefighters and their families down to the firehall for dinner and fellowship.
He took care of everything and everybody. He tirelessly served his family and community and never boasted about his accomplishments or what he did as a firefighter. He rarely told us stories of his days, and it wasn’t until after his death that his fellow firefighters and coworkers began to share stories about his accomplishments. We even found an award that was given to him by the Department of Energy for Exceptional Service to Mankind, with the award detailing how he saved the life of a motorist. He never once mentioned the call or the award to us.

He enjoyed helping people through his EMT and firefighter skills. One of his final projects was securing a new fire truck for the town through a grant. He had plans to retire once it was delivered; however, he passed before the project was completed. When the truck arrived, it was dedicated in his name and proudly displays “in memoriam” on its side. He was awarded the Three Stars of Tennessee Award posthumously for his service.

Ronnie Spitzer contracted COVID with another firefighter during a call in December 2020. He went into the hospital on December 23 and passed on January 13, 2021. Even while sick at the hospital he was concerned about the other firefighter that contracted COVID, calling to check on him.

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