February 12, 1938 – June 16, 2008
As a youngster living in the City of Toronto, Bob hung out at his local fire hall, Station 19 on Perth Avenue. The firemen at that fire hall helped hone his interest in the fire service and on October 30, 1959, he was appointed to the Toronto Fire Department (TFD) and assigned badge #598. Following his training period, Bob was assigned to Pumper 20 in the Junction and one of his early baptisms of fire was the tragic Miller Street fire where multiple children died. Eventually, he was assigned to Rescue Squad 14 when it was located on Dufferin Street and he relocated with the unit when it became Rescue Squad 2 at Claremont Street in 1968. In 1970, Bob moved his family to Palgrave.
Municipal restructuring in 1974 saw the creation of the Town of Caledon from a collection of villages and townships in northern Peel Region. His success necessitated his resignation from the TFD in March 1975, as he was officially appointed Chief of Caledon Fire Department on April 7, 1975. He was tasked with creating cohesive firefighting force from three township fire departments and one village fire department with a total of six stations and individual ways of doing things. With his dry sense of humor and innate ability to teach others, he was effective in rbinging the department together and expanding it to eight stations to better serve the residents of Caledon. Bob retired as Chief on January 15, 1994. Following his retirement, Bob continued to hang out at Station 308 in Mono Mills, where he could be found every Sunday morning having coffee with the duty crews as they performed their tasks at the station. He was also a regular for breakfast with a number of firefighters at Peter’s Donuts in Caledon.
Bob met his wife Dianne, a Metropolitan Toronto Police constable, while with the TFD and they raised two sons together. Bob’s pride in his family was evident in conversation as he particularly kept those of us with a military background informed of Ronald’s posting to NORAD Headquarters in Colorado.
Bob began to attend Greater Toronto Multiple Alarm Association (GTMAA) meetings and was granted membership on February 19, 2002. He took an active role in the club and was assisting member Gary Wignall as they searched the Toronto Archives for records of the TFD as Gary is assembling as much TFD history as he can gather. He also continued to attend the annual Firehouse Expo in Baltimore, Maryland and even ran the occasional canteen call.
On June 25th a memorial service was held in Orangeville with a large contingent of firefighters in dress uniform in attendance. 18 members of GTMAA attended with Support 7 and participated in the ceremony as they tolled the bell signifying Bob’s last call and return to quarters. The GTMAA was proud to supply the club’s bell and be asked to participate in the ceremony.