Stephen G. Gavin
- Susquehanna Hose Company #1 of the Owego Fire Department
- New York
- Age: 52
- Year of Death: 2003
Submitted by his wife
All across America in towns and cities large and small‚ children turn a watchful eye to catch a glimpse of a fire truck racing to the scene of a structure fire or motor vehicle accident. Often they point and wave to the firefighters in those trucks and dream of one day joining their ranks. Stephen G. Gavin was one of those children who followed in his father’s footsteps and joined the Owego Fire Department shortly after his eighteenth birthday in 1969. Making the ‘ultimate sacrifice’‚ Stephen died in the line of duty September 2‚ 2003 as a result of a massive heart attack he suffered while fighting a lumber mill fire. He was fifty-two. Stephen was a lieutenant of Susquehanna Hose Company #1 at the time of his death and had held various offices in the department during his thirty-four years of active service including past captain of Susquehanna Hose Company #1 and past co-captain of the Owego Emergency Squad. Over the years Stephen was also an active member of several Owego Firematic Hose Teams that competed in the Central New York Firemen’s Association Firematic Tournaments. At their annual banquet in 2002‚ The Owego Fire Department presented to Stephen and his three sons‚ Patrick‚ Timothy‚ and Daniel‚ ‘The Firefighter of the Year’ award for their dedication to the department. In addition to his service with the fire department‚ Stephen also coached little league‚ football‚ basketball‚ and was involved in local village politics.
‘A legend in the Owego Fire Department‚’ ‘an example for all to follow‚’ ‘a yardstick – the firefighter you measured all others against‚’ a faithful friend‚ devoted husband and father‚ and community servant were all ways describing Stephen. As his wife of twenty- eight years‚ he is irreplaceable. Stephen was a humble man who wanted no recognition or thanks for his efforts. He loved life and gave unconditional love to his family. Stephen’s devotion and love for us was immeasurable. Stephen was extremely proud of his boys and never missed any activity or event that involved them. Stephen cared deeply about others and did not hesitate to lend a helping hand. He became a teacher and mentor not only for his boys‚ but for the young men and women entering the fire service. Stephen’s commitment to the fire service and the community is being carried on through his three sons. Patrick‚ Timothy‚ and Daniel are all active members in the Owego Fire Department and belong to the Owego Firematic Hose Team. A longtime family friend said‚ ‘He epitomized the height of the volunteer fire service. He died doing what he loved to do‚ serving the community.’ Stephen did not hesitate to put the life of his fellow man before his own.
Great man to work with. I worked with him with my dad at Endicott Forging. Always pleasant and easy to talk to. I remember going to his house with my dad when I was a kid.– Paul Howard