Amy L. Schnearle-Pennywitt

Amy L. Schnearle-Pennywitt

Submitted by her Sister

Amy was born on March 6‚ 1971‚ in Ann Arbor‚ Michigan. She was the daughter of James and Jane Schnearle. Amy grew up on her parent’s dairy farm‚ graduated from Manchester High School in 1989 and earned a degree in education from Eastern Michigan University in 1997. Meanwhile she joined the Manchester Township Fire Department as their first female fire fighter in 1996. She became a member of the Ann Arbor Fire Department in 1998 where she was an EMT and a member of the Hazmat Team. She always dreamed of being a fire fighter and her passion and determination led her on the path of helping others.

Amy was an excellent hostess of parties; loved water sports‚ vacationing and being around friends and family. She was a Longaberger consultant and raised money to walk in the Breast Cancer 3-Day 60-mile walk in support of family and friends.

On January 13‚ 2006‚ Amy tragically lost her life in the line of duty. Amy was a firefighter at the Ann Arbor Fire Department for 8 years. Amy had a zest for life that was contagious. She had a passion for helping others and building meaningful relationships. Her kindness‚ confidence and organization led her on a journey that touched so many lives. She is cherished by family‚ friends and communities who have seen the beauty and dedication in how she lived her life to the fullest. She is deeply missed.

Amy is survived by her husband‚ Alan‚ stepson‚ Jacob; parents‚ Jim and Jane Schnearle; two sisters; Bobbi Kunzelman and Jenni Kerns.

Scott A. Thornton

Scott A. Thornton

Submitted by his family

Scott Allen Thornton‚ 39‚ career captain‚ Summit Township Fire Department‚ died January 20‚ 2005‚ when he became trapped and ran out of air while fighting a house fire. Scott was a third generation firefighter. He began his career as a volunteer with the Cascade Township Fire Department and then followed his grandfather and father by becoming a member of the Summit Township Fire Department where he served for 19 years. He had held various ranks and worked in many capacities‚ most recently as training captain. He volunteered many hours in his church and community and the Jackson County Civil War Muster. He was devoted to his wife Cari and children Emily and Andrew. He will be remembered by his mother Joan‚ his father Bill‚ and his brothers Larry‚ Garry‚ Terry. Two thermal imaging cameras were purchased in Summit Township in Scott’s memory.

Scott was respected by the community and his peers and was loved by his family and friends. He is deeply missed.

Thomas L. Ivey

Thomas L. Ivey

Tom was a member of the West Iron County Fire Department in Iron River Michigan. Tom was training officer at the time of his accident. In December 2004, he suffered injuries in an accident while responding to a fire. Tom was left a quadriplegic for 7 months before succumbing to his injuries in July 2005.

As well as doing what he loved as a Fire fighter, he was a member of the Iron County Search and Rescue team. Tom was a proud 20 year retiree of the U.S Navy.

Tom left behind 3 children, Maggie age 6, Robbie age 5 and an adult daughter Alisha and her family. Also survived by brothers Bob (Diane) Ivey and their family, Ted (Karen) Ivey and their family, John ( Pam) Ivey and their family, and Lenny ( Sue) Ivey and their family. Tom was also survived by close friends Mike (Lisa) Goriesky and their family and Richard Sharp and his family.

Upon his passing, he was welcomed into Heaven by his parents, Leonard and Agnes Ivey, sister Mary Jane Ivey, nephew Derek Ivey and nephew Duane Ivey.

Rick L. Wilbur

Rick L. Wilbur

Submitted by his wife

Rick Wilbur was the heart of his family‚ his friends‚ his community and his fire department. He will live on in our hearts and memories.

Rick died March 28th‚ 2004‚ while on a fire call. Rick was a founding member of the Eaton Rapids Township Fire Department starting January 1st‚ 1988. He served first as a Lieutenant‚ Deputy Chief‚ then becoming Chief on January 1st‚ 2000. Rick started his volunteer fire career with the Eaton Rapids City Fire Department before 1988. First joining the Eaton Rapids Area Ambulance Service as an Emergency Medical Technician. After a few years they asked him to become a fireman.

Rick was an instructor for the American Red Cross in CPR and First Aid. He never charged for teaching anyone. He felt if someone saved a life by his teaching that was payment enough. There was and still are lives being saved because of him. Rick was a State Certified FFI & II instructor for the state of Michigan.

Rick also was a photographer. He saw the beauty in everything and this showed in his pictures. Rick loved just to get away and go camping or just to get out and get back to the basics of the simple life.

Rick was a prankster and a joker. He always had a joke & a smile for everyone. There was always joking around about his Ford trucks. It was commonly known as his girlfriend because of all the time he spent with it.

Rick was a devoted family man himself. He was really just starting to enjoy being a grandpa. Rick was a very special caring friend to many.

Rick is survived by his wife Linda (of 21 years of marriage)‚ his three children: Thomas (Peggy)‚ Robert (Becky) and Saunci (Rodger) Steele and 10 grandchildren. He is also survived by his family and extended family‚ his dearest friends in the world Roger and Linda McNutt. He will be greatly missed by many in the fire service.

Robert E. Peterson

Robert E. Peterson

Submitted by his wife

Robert E. (Bob) Peterson‚ 57 years old‚ passed away in the line of duty‚ while fighting a field fire on October 11‚ 2002. It has been said that Bob left this world doing what he loved best‚ fighting fires.

Bob was an active Fire Fighter with the Bad Axe Area Fire Department for 34 years. He owned and operated Penzoil 10-Minute Oil Change in Bad Axe. He was a member of the Ushers Club at Sacred Heart Catholic Church. Bob was also an active member of the Huron County Fire Fighters Association for many years‚ serving at every board level including President; it was rare for him to miss a meeting. Bob was a respected member of his community‚ and received numerous awards throughout his years of service to Huron County.

Bob was an avid Nascar race fan‚ but he loved fire fighting the most‚ it was his life. Day or night whenever that pager went off. Bob was there‚ and stayed until the job was done‚ when Bob said the fire was out‚ you could trust the fire was out. Bob is survived by his wife of 37 years‚ Doreen M. Peterson.

Steven M. Olander

Steven M. Olander

Submitted by his parents

Steven‚ 39‚ died February 7‚ 2002‚ from injuries suffered while putting out a four-story building fire. He was on the department 14 years. He received many citations for valor and earned the respect of his co-workers at Engine 42 and Ladder 21.

He loved his job and family and was always there to lend a helping hand in any situation. He enjoyed hunting‚ fishing and snowmobiling. He had a wonderful sense of humor. He golfed‚ bowled and played baseball for many tournaments to raise money for Children’s Hospital Burn Center. He had a heart of gold when it came to children.

He is survived by his children – Michael‚ Heather and Nicole‚ his parents Duane and Irene‚ and 4 sisters Denise‚ Diane‚ Carol and Valerie‚ and his special friend Jenny Schilbe.

Raymond Alvin Ebel

Raymond Alvin Ebel

Submitted by his daughters

Raymond Alvin Ebel‚ aged 62‚ served the Newaygo Fire District of West Michigan as a fireman for 36 years‚ including 3 years as Chief. After graduating from Newaygo High School‚ he joined the United States Air Force‚ specializing in Electronic Countermeasures on B-36 and B-52 aircraft and attaining the rank of A2C.

Upon returning home‚ Ray worked at the family-owned Ebel Body Shop‚ of which he later became the owner. He joined the Newaygo Fire Department in 1966‚ a second-generation firefighter.

His interests included anything that involved moving parts or flight – hot rods‚ his Harley Davidson motorcycle‚ planes and helicopters‚ to name a few. He received and maintained LZ certification for AeroMed of Grand Rapids‚ MI.

Ray loved taking care of his many flower beds in the summer‚ playing with his dog Screwball‚ and most of all he loved spending time with his two daughters‚ Allison and Barbara. He enjoyed canoeing the Muskegon River with them‚ went on walks and bike rides‚ and attended every soccer game‚ band concert‚ and quiz bowl tournament that came up.

Community involvement was a big part of Ray’s life. An interest in local history combined with a civic-minded attitude to form one very informed person. Ray was instrumental in the planning and funding process for Newaygo’s new fire station‚ finished shortly before his death. He spent countless hours of his personal time revising the plans‚ writing proposals‚ even clearing brush from the construction site.

At one time a Newaygo city council member‚ he kept up to date on local news and community proceedings‚ especially where safety was concerned. It was almost impossible for Ray to take his nightly walk‚ or even go downtown for coffee‚ without running into several people he knew.

Ray was a behind-the-scenes hero. Intelligent‚ practical‚ and hard-working‚ he had an ever-present grin and a wry joke on hand. Always strong during the tough times‚ he shoved aside his own difficulties to get the job done or to help someone else. To all who remember him: may we now give him what he never asked for – a pat on the back.

Christopher D. Towne

Christopher D. Towne

Dates of Service: Sept. 18‚ 1972- January 18‚ 2001

Children: Sarah and Luke Parents: Charles and Carol Towne Brothers: Charles‚ Cary‚ Craig‚ Carl‚ Clark‚ and Curtis Sisters: Carol‚ Colleen‚ and Cynthia

Affiliations: VFW‚ Lions Club‚ and Moose Lodge His charitable works were extensive for the Children’s Hospital Burn Unit as a fundraiser activist.

Greatest Attributes: Chris approached life and all that it offered with great passion. He was actively and passionately involved in his family‚ his career‚ his hobbies‚ charitable works and people in general.

Favorite activities: Gardening; cooking; hunting‚ fishing‚ and boating.

During his nearly 30 years as firefighter‚ Chris received numerous citations for acts of bravery‚ yet never bragged about them to anyone. He just considered it part of what he did. Chris loved people‚ and‚ through his actions‚ took every opportunity to show that love. Many people loved Chris and he will be greatly missed.

James A. Rupkey

James Alan Rupkey April 30‚ 1942 – April 23‚ 2001

Spouse: Carol Ann Goth
Children: Suzanne Marie Rupkey‚ Christine Michelle Rupkey‚ Cheryl Ann Rupkey

Education: Bachelor of Science‚ May 1964‚ Xavier University‚ Cincinnati‚ Ohio

Employment History: General Motors – June 1964
EDS‚ transition date from GM to EDS – January 1985
Retired – May 1999

Troy Fire Firefighter History:Charter Member of Station 5 – April 1972
Inactive Status – October 1982 (due to relocation)
Reactivated – June 1986

Held many positions including: President‚ Vice President‚ Secretary‚ and Treasurer. Also served as a Captain and a Lieutenant. Named City of Troy Fire Fighter of the Year in 1999.

Additional Information:

Member of St. Thomas More Church. Hobbies and interests included golf‚ household repair‚ watching sports and playing them in his younger years‚ traveling‚ and movies.

James M. Pelton

James M. Pelton

Jim was born in Lansing‚ Michigan and lived in a rural surrounding area while growing up. After graduating from high school‚ he entered Barber College in Detroit. He passed his State Barber Licensing Boards‚ and began working at the Golden Shear in Mason‚ Michigan. He later purchased the barbershop and continued to work there until announcing his retirement the end of June 2001.

Jim was married to his high school sweetheart‚ Barb‚ in April of 1964. A month later he joined the City of Mason Volunteer Fire Department. He received his training for this new job the old fashioned way‚ on the job. Jim thoroughly enjoyed this new on call position and would respond any time the call went out. This often caused the customer sitting in his barber chair to have to reschedule an appointment or rely on another barber to finish a haircut. It also meant that many social and family events were often interrupted‚ but Jim was living his dream.

Jim worked his way from firefighter through the positions of First Lieutenant‚ Assistant Chief and then became the Mason Fire Chief. He was always looking for ways to educate the public on fire safety. He became a Certified Fire Inspector and would often be invited by local businesses to give suggestions on improving fire safety in their establishments. Safety for firefighters was another of the concerns most pressing on his mind and he worked hard to get proper training and equipment to support them. Jim was instrumental in implementing a variety of training programs‚ including ice rescue‚ hazardous materials handling and vehicle extrication training. Jim’s vision of ‘looking to the future’ was realized when as Chief‚ he oversaw the building of a new fire station in Mason. The purchase of the department’s first aerial platform truck soon followed. Jim dedicated many hours to both projects‚ assuring that the department would be ready to respond in any situation.

Although his time was always occupied‚ Jim enjoyed children and would often stop whatever he was working on to give tours of the fire station. He believed in early fire safety education and would also visit the local elementary schools‚ sometimes offering a ride on the department’s fire engine. He always welcomed local Cub Scout and Boy Scout groups in need of a fire safety lesson to accomplish a merit badge and often took the time to teach ‘the lesson himself. No matter what the question‚ it was never left unanswered.

Jim was a man of many talents. He loved to spend relaxation time in his home workshop doing woodcarvings. His doll cradles‚ children’s rocking chairs‚ and cedar chests have been enjoyed by the many family and friends who received them as gifts.

He was also an avid hunter and fisherman. He loved to bow hunt in the Fall and spend time fishing in the Spring and Summer. He would always work in a Fall hunting or Winter camping trip with his long time friend‚ Kit. They both enjoyed sharing this experience with their own sons from the time they were five years old.

Jim was a dedicated friend. He was always ready to lend a hand to anyone who needed help‚ no matter what the situation. He would volunteer to organize a work crew‚ order or pick up any materials and still be the first one there‚ hammer in hand‚ ready to begin the job. There are many people who have benefited from this talent and who will remember his kindness.

Jim was an involved community member. He was a life time member of the Mason Optimist Club; co-founder of the Mason Free-Style Wrestling Club; a member of the Michigan Fire Chiefs Association‚ the Alert Fire Association‚ the Tri-County Chiefs Association‚ the Ingham County Fire Chiefs Association‚ the 911 Board and for 37-1/2 years‚ a proud member of the Mason Fire Department.

Jim and his wife were also realizing another dream come true with the purchase of land near Houghton Lake in northern Michigan. Jim’s continued vision of ‘looking to the future’ included the building of a log cabin for his family. The property had many mature red pines‚ which were harvested and with the help of many family and friends were cut‚ peeled‚ shaped and stacked in preparation for construction. Jim was in his glory as he was able to see the main structure go up just prior to his untimely death.

Jim is survived by his wife of 37-1/2 years‚ Barb. They have two sons‚ James C. and fiancee‚ Rachael‚ David L. and wife Rose; two granddaughters‚ Caitlin and Ann; parents‚ Carl and Naomi; sister and brother in law‚ Kay and Bob Lerch; brother and sister in law‚ Gerry and Lyanne Pelton; along with many nieces‚ nephews and great nieces and nephews.