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National Fallen Firefighters Foundation

Roll of Honor

Assistant Chief
Age: 55
Year of Death: 2019

W. Keith Tessinear

W. Keith Tessinear died in the line of duty on August 29, 2019. Keith was a man of strong faith, who loved his family, friends, fellow firefighters, the fire service, and his community. He began his professional career with Raleigh Fire Department (RFD) in 1991. Keith excelled in all he did and rose to the rank of Assistant Chief of Training with RFD. A true public servant, Keith was a member of Raleigh Fire Department for over 28 years, where he was honored to serve in all four divisions (Operations, Training, Services, and Office of the Fire Marshal).

Commitment to family and the fire service showed through in all that Keith did. Keith was a man of integrity and a great example to others. He had a positive influence on those he met. He was kindhearted, compassionate, and had a balanced way of thinking about things. Keith was an amazing husband and father and was adored by his wife, Jessica, and daughter, Hannah.

Everyone who knew Keith knew that the fire department was his home away from home. He enjoyed everything fire service related and considered it an honor and a privilege to work daily with his firefighter family. Keith enjoyed spending time with family and friends. He was a great teacher and enjoyed learning, as well as helping others. Over the years while working at Raleigh Fire Department, Keith obtained a Master of Science, Executive Fire Service Leadership graduate degree, and completed the Executive Fire Officer Program with the United States Fire Administration’s National Fire Academy. Keith’s devotion to his wife, daughter, and the fire service are evident by his dedication to his family and community. Keith will forever be our hero, and his legacy will forever be remembered.

Keith was a loving, kind, and generous husband, father, firefighter, and friend. He selflessly worked to help others in any way he could. Keith was one of a kind. He always encouraged others to do their best. He was a wonderful provider and friend who showed his wife, daughter, and others how to be brave and courageous no matter the circumstances. Words cannot express how deeply Keith is missed by his wife, daughter, family, firefighter family, friends, and community.

Memorial Posts


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  1. Keith was a great Sunday School teacher and I was privileged to sit under his teaching in that class. Jessica, I’ve already told you that Keith’s class was a memory none of us will ever forget! “To be sure” (eye wink) we’ll gather in Glory one day and enjoy that comradery once again! Great big hugs and lots of love to the Tessinears!

    – Robin Monroe
  2. Keith was a very special brother-in-law and Uncle to Heather, Erica and Lawrence. We miss you everyday.

    We love you-
    David, Janice, Heather, Erica and Lawrence

    – Janice Whitley
  3. Keith was a wonderful co-worker and a better person. Keith always made those around him better. I had the honor to work with him for several years and treasure every moment I was able to spend with him. With Keith’s passing RFD lost a real leader and I lost a true friend. It was an honor to be on the Memorial grounds when Keith was honored in Emmitsburg.

    – Greg Bridges