Roll of Honor

Timothy J. McClanahan

Timothy J. McClanahan

  • Firefighter
  • Lewes Fire Department
  • Delaware
  • Age: 46
  • Year of Death: 2016

Timothy “Tim” McClanahan was born on June 29, 1970, at Sibley Hospital in Washington, DC, to Mike and Rita McClanahan. He lived in Vienna, Virginia until 1986, when he moved to Lewes, Delaware and graduated from Cape Henlopen High School in 1988. He was a master of many trades, tuned a small engine by sound only, led by example, and was an excellent teacher who explained the smallest details with ease.

Tim enjoyed spending time with his family, children, Brenden McClanahan and Mollie Skipper; parents, Mike and Rita McClanahan; brothers, Sean and Brion McClanahan; and a large extended family of aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, and friends. Tim touched the lives of many people while on Earth and is truly missed by all who knew him.

Tim’s lifelong journey and dedication with the fire service started shortly after high school in 1991. He was a past member of Milton and Rehoboth Beach Volunteer Fire Departments and a current member of the Lewes Volunteer Fire Department. During his time of service with the Lewes Fire Department, he served in many positions and was on many committees. He achieved the rank of assistant chief engineer and marine rescue and engine captain. He led the Build the Boat Campaign in 2008, which resulted in a state of the art vessel he designed. Tim was also instrumental in the development of the Lewes Fire Department’s water rescue program. Being marine captain was one of Tim’s most special times.

Moreover, Tim was very involved with the Delaware Air Rescue Team (DART). He joined DART in 2010, where he remained actively involved until his death. DART, a statewide rescue team, is a partnership between the Delaware State Police and the fire services within Delaware; the team responds to emergencies in remote locations, such as over the water or in the woods, using Delaware State Police helicopters and a combination of paramedics and firefighters.

Tim put into practice what his training provided. Specifically, about five years ago he was involved in the rescue of an individual who was severely injured on a cargo ship. Tim was part of the team of rescuers who were lifted down to the ship from the hoist on the helicopter to rescue the individual, who was hoisted back into the helicopter successfully and transported to a hospital.

Tim was very energetic and passionate about serving the public in their time of need. He had a true passion for rescue and was known to be far above average in emergency services. He was a highly decorated and hardworking firefighter, dedicated to the mission of public safety. He is truly missed by all who knew him.

Submitted by his Parents

Timothy “Tim” Joseph McClanahan was killed in the line of duty during a training exercise with Delaware Air Rescue Team (“DART”) at Delaware Coastal Airport. He was performing a hoist operation with the team when he tragically fell to his death. Tim was born on June 29, 1970 at Sibley Hospital in Washington D.C., to Robert Michael and Rita (McCabe) McClanahan. The family lived in Vienna, Va. until 1986 when they moved to Lewes. Tim graduated from Cape Henlopen High School Class of 1988 and continued his studies at Delaware Technical Community College. Tim was a master of many trades and worked at several local businesses in his life: Best Ace Hardware, Rehoboth Beach Police Department, Grand Rental Station, North American Homes, Snap on Tools, Snookies Speed Parts, Schagrin Gas, WMF Watersports, the Delaware State Fire Marshall’s Office, Priority One Air Rescue, Baker’s Petroleum, Delaware State Fire School, and Bay Shore Small Engine Repairs with his father. He was the youngest Briggs and Stratton certified master mechanic in Delaware and could tune a small engine only by its sound. Tim was an exemplary teacher. He was patient and understanding and could explain the smallest details with ease. Tim started his lifelong dedication to emergency service in 1991. He was a past member of Milton and Rehoboth Beach Fire Departments and a current member of the Lewes Fire Department where he achieved the rank of Assistant Chief. He was one of the founding members of DART a partnership with the Delaware State Police. DART is an exclusive and highly trained group of members dedicated to responding to emergencies across the state. He led the Build the Boat Campaign in 2008 which resulted in a state of the art Lewes Fire Boat, a vessel he designed. Tim was instrumental in the development of the Lewes Fire Department water rescue program. He was a highly decorated and hardworking firefighter dedicated to the mission of public safety. Flying with DART was one of this true joys in life, and while it makes his death no less tragic, he died doing exactly what he loved to do. Tim was a loving, compassionate and dedicated father, a caring son, fiancé’, brother, uncle and friend who will be dearly missed by all who knew him. He never met a stranger. Tim is survived by his parents, Mike and Rita M. McClanahan; his loving fiancé’, Kim Holler-Baker; his son, Brenden Joseph McClanahan; his daughter, Mollie Anne McClanahan; brothers, Sean McClanahan and wife, Pam of Lewes and Brion McClanahan and wife, Samantha of Phenix City, Ala.; and an extended family of aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews and dear friends.