Our father was 61 years of age when he suddenly died on Sunday July 10‚ 2005 at the scene of a fire alarm. He was a life member of the Bridgeville Volunteer Fire Company Station 72‚ joining in 1964‚ where he was named Fireman of the Year in 1968. Over the years he has held the positions of treasurer‚ chief engineer‚ engineer‚ 1st assistant chief and 2nd assistant chief. Our father has also held positions in several other fire organizations which included past president of the State Fire Chief’s Association‚ Delmarva Fireman’s Association‚ Sussex County Fire Chiefs‚ and Sussex County Fireman’s Association as well as having served on numerous committee appointments throughout the years.
He had a love and dedication for the fire service that was unsurpassed. Another passion was his love for farming. He was raised on a farm in Bridgeville‚ Delaware where his parents Joseph E. Evans and Rebecca H. Evans began; he helped his father for many years until 1982 when his parents could not run the farm. Our father and mother took over and we as kids got to enjoy life on the farm. After losing our mother to cancer in March of 1993 ‘Beverly Lucks Evans‚’ he continued to farm and in 2000 became partners with his son Kevin‚ who was manager and part owner in Evans Farm LLC.
In addition to being a farmer‚ our father also worked as a telephone lineman‚ for Diamond State and then Bell Atlantic and retired after 33 years of dedicated service in 1998. During this time he received the Spirit of Excellence Award from Bell Atlantic and was a member of the Telephone Pioneers. Our father served in the National Guards and was a member of the 1962 Blue Gold All Star Football team. He enjoyed playing many sports including softball.
He was a man that told things like they were; he was filled with love and compassion. You could not ask for a better father or grandfather. He was always there to help a friend or a stranger in need. He loved spending time with his grandchildren. He enjoyed life‚ and always had a smile or a funny joke. The words that sum up this man‚ father‚ friend are strength‚ heart‚ wisdom and a great big hug!! We love you always and forever! Thanks for being the best father!!
In Loving MemoryKim Vanbuskirk – DaughterKevin Evans – Son
Submitted by his friend
On July 10‚ 2005‚ veteran firefighter of the Bridgeville Volunteer Fire Company‚ Joseph H. Evans‚ died while responding to a fire call. As of June 5‚ 2005‚ Joe had served as a volunteer member of the B.V.F.C. for 41 years. As a fireman‚ he took position in many appointed offices that included the following: Chief Engineer‚ Assistant Chief Engineer‚ Director of Supplies‚ 15 yrs. as 1st or 2nd Assistant Chief‚ President of the Sussex County Firemen’s Association‚ President of the State Fire Chief’s Association‚ President of the D.V.F.A. and in 1968 was awarded the B.V.F.C.’s ‘Fireman of the Year’ Award.
Joe is survived by his 2 children‚ Kevin Evans‚ Kim Vanbuskirk‚ & granddaughter‚ Delaney Vanbuskirk. He was not only known as a fireman‚ but also a devout father‚ husband‚ grandfather & friend. He will be greatly missed & forever cherished within our hearts.
Louis A. Rickards‚ 55‚ volunteer president‚ Lewes Fire Department‚ died February 3‚ 2002‚ in a motor vehicle accident as he traveled to a regional firefighters association meeting. He served with the department for 39 years‚ including 25 years as chief or assistant chief and 13 terms as president. In 1997‚ he was named Chief Emeritus of the department. Rickards was involved in the construction of two fire stations and helped compile a complete history of the department. He was a Delaware State Police trooper for over 25 years and received two Superintendent’s Citations for bravery. He served for six years with the U.S. Army Reserve. His two grandchildren were his whole world.
Wayne A. Steen Sr.‚(48) – Honorary Deputy Chief and Life Member of the Millcreek Fire Co. (2+21)‚ Marshallton‚ DE. Passed away in Sept. of 2001 after along illness due to a Brain Aneurysm Rupture he suffered in June of 95‚ at the scene of a fatal automobile accident.
He had held numerous Offices with his Fire Company and was holding the office of Deputy Chief at the time. Millcreek Fire Co. honored him at their Banquet in May of 96‚ where he received the Presidents Award and was made Honorary Deputy Chief.
He also was a Life Member of the New Castle County Fire Chiefs Assoc.‚ DE State Fire Chiefs Assoc.(Served as Secretary)‚ Eastern Division I.A.F.C.‚ and the DE Valley Fire Chiefs Assoc.
Arnold Blankenship III‚ 27‚ assistant chief and six-year veteran of the Greenwood Volunteer Fire Department #1‚ Inc.‚ died April 30‚ 2000‚ when he became trapped during a controlled burn. His department selected him as ‘Fireman of the Year’ in 1998.
Prince was a firefighter for 27 years. He recieved several commendations during his career. He was a role model to the younger firefighters because he believed in what he did and was very good at it. He was known as Pop-Pop at the station because of his age. A lot of the men that worked with him told me they wouldn’t hesitate to follow him into a burning building because they knew that he knew how to be a firefighter.
He served in the Delaware Air National Guard. He was an avid hunter and sportsman. He was very family oriented.
He is survived by his wife Patricia‚ three step sons James‚ Christopher and Kevin. He is also survived by his mother Ruth‚ a brother Tom and a sister Sharon.
Jack Northam had been a member with the Laurel Fire Department for thirty years. He collapsed at the Fire House on a Monday evening. Laurel had just been toned out for a Motor Vehicle Accident and Dad had been working on a truck. He went to put his tools away in order to respond and collapsed. He was later pronounced at Nanticoke Memorial Hospital.
My dad had just turned 55 and my parents had just celebrated their 33rd wedding anniversary. What made it even harder was the fact that he died on his neice’s birthday and the day after Father’s Day.
My Mother and I are very proud of the accomplishments of my Dad. He was very active in our Fire Department and had served as President‚ Vice President and Secretary. On the other side of the wall‚ so to speak‚ he had served as Chief Engineer and Ambulance Captain. He had also served as President of the Sussex County Volunteer Firemen’s Association.
His service to the community did not end with the Fire Service. He served on the Laurel Town Council for almost 18 years and was the President of the Council for several of those years.
Prior to becoming disabled‚ he had worked for the railroad. First for Pennsylvania and then for Con-Rail. He worked for Potomac Fire Equipment for a few years and had then purchased a school bus and drove for our local school district. He loved the kids on his bus and the highlight of dinner was to hear about his bus runs for the day.
The fire service was Dad’s first hobby but he had many other interests including camping‚ fishing‚ hunting in his earlier years‚ and his model train collection. Part of the garage became the ‘train room’ where he worked many hours building and constructing. He was very proud of his collection and was even featured in the local paper with his trains.
Jack was a big man with a big presence. You always knew where you stood with him and if he liked you‚ you were a friend for life. If he did not like you‚ you knew it and you knew the reasons why. He never pulled any punches and he was a straight shooter. He knew how to run things and get the job done and he could certainly burn up the telephone making things happen! When he died someone asked me about his rolodex and my reply was that unfortunately‚ his rolodex was in his head.
There is not enough space to talk about all the stories surrounding Jack. Misfortune often followed him and I always liked to turn that into a funny story. We have had many laughs at his expense at home and at the Fire House. He was accident prone and thought that he could sing. Nuf said! Even after eight years he still is a big part of the conversation on many days. When someone comes up to me and starts talking about Jack it makes me very proud. He touched alot of people. I hope to have a little of his diplomacy and tact at some point in my life.
Jack is survived by his wife Dixie‚ daughter Stacy‚ son-in-law Todd‚ sister Judy‚ and niece Jennifer. He is also survived by his extended Fire Company family. My husband became a member of the Laurel Fire Department when we married and I know that Dad would be very proud of him. My mom‚ aunt and I are members of the Auxiliary and I am following in my dad’s footsteps in that I am currently President of the County Auxiliary.
Jack lives on in our memories‚ hearts‚ conversations and ‘Service to Others.’ He was a true representation of this statement.
Lt. James Goode Jr. was a 18 year Veteran of the Wilmington Fire Department. Lt. Goode served served in both administration and suppression positions where he was honored by numerous awards and citations. Lt. Goode leaves behind a loving wife and son (Anthony Goode)‚ who is also a Wilmington FireFighter. Lt. Goode is deeply missed but Never Forgotten!
H. Thomas Tucker Citizens’ Hose Company #1‚ Inc. – Delaware Classification: Volunteer Rank: Firefighter Date of Death: August 26‚ 1982 Age: 19
Firefighter H. Thomas Tucker joined the Citizens’ Hose Company No 1 Inc. of Smyrna‚ DE on February 5th 1979. During his probationary membership in 1979 he was awarded for being the second highest in fire alarm attendance. In 1980‚ he was awarded ‘Fireman of the Year’ for attending the most fire department functions of any member. In June of 1981‚ he was voted into full membership and received an award for the Second Highest Attendance in Fire Alarms for the year.
On August 22‚ 1982 at 1245 hours‚ The Citizens’ Hose Company was dispatched to a gas leak inside a trailer at the Duck Creek Trailer Park‚ located on the outer northern side of the city limits of Smyrna. Firefighter Tucker‚ who was riding in the jump seat of Engine 44-2‚ the attack piece‚ was injured as the apparatus rounded the intersection of East Commerce Street at North DuPont Boulevard. He slipped from the apparatus‚ coming to rest alongside the curb of the road. From the time of the accident until his death‚ Firefighter Tucker never regained consciousness.
Firefighter Tucker was also a volunteer with the American Legion Post 14 Ambulance Service where he served as an Ambulance Attendant for 2 years.
On August 28‚ 1982 Firefighter Tucker was transported to his final resting place aboard Engine 44-1 a 1928 American LaFrance known as ‘Old Mom’ – the department’s oldest piece of apparatus. As he was transported by the fire station‚ the fire siren sounded one last time for Tucker‚ honoring him for his service to the community.
Approximately 600 people were in attendance at the funeral which was attended by 52 departments throughout Delaware and Maryland.
Thomas was a 1981 graduate of Smyrna High School.
Thomas and I joined the Citizens’ Hose Company at the age of 16. We both enjoyed serving the community in which we served‚ and my best memories were when the alarm sounded‚ we would make it a competition to see which one of made on the apparatus the quickest and we would have bragging rights until the next alarm where we would be in competition again.
We both loved riding the departments 1948 American La France Ladder Truck. If that truck responded to the call‚ we made sure we were on that truck somewhere.
I remember the accident and the night before it as we both served on the Ambulance crew and we responded to several calls together‚ one being a serious automobile accident and later a homicide across the street from the fire station in which we served. It was one of the busiest nights that I served with my brother since we joined and I had no idea that it was going to be the last time I would be able to work with him or even speak with him again.
This is the first and hopefully the last line-of-duty death our department will experience.
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