Former fire chief passionate about his job - Passing of Retired Fire Chief Bill Gibson, Strathroy, Ontario

The Canadian flag was hanging at half-mast and there were somber faces inside the Strathroy fire hall on Wednesday, Aug. 8.

News of the sudden passing of former fire chief of Bill Gibson was making its way through the community.

There is a mix of shock and sadness for a man who was just three years into his retirement after a lengthy career with the Strathroy-Caradoc Fire Department.

Bill died peacefully in his sleep at Rus-ton Family Campground just outside of Grand Bend.

He was married to Val for 47 years and was the loving father of Janna and Mike. He was papa to his dear granddaughter Kiera Baker, who he spent a great deal of time with. Bill was the brother of Tom Gibson, who is the current fire chief.

Bill Gibson always knew he wanted to be a firefighter and in fact, he considered himself lucky to have spent his working life doing something he loved. He was passionate about fire fighting.

During an interview for The Age Dispatch upon his retirement in 2009, Bill recalled how much he respected local volunteer firefighters for their courage and willingness to risk their lives to help others.

Bob Fortner, a former firefighter and member of the fire board, said Bill was dedicated to this municipality and was serious about fire safety.

“Bill loved the fire department and he loved to play golf,” said Bob. “Those were his two passions.”

Bill followed in the footsteps of his father, who served as a firefighter for more than 30 years.

“Bill was born into it,” said Bob. “He followed in his father’s footsteps and he enjoyed every minute of it.”

According to Bob, the former fire chief was a forward thinker and was always looking at ways to improve fire safety.

“Bill was very safety-minded and was willing to talk to anyone and everyone about fire safety,” said Bob. “He was involved in bringing many programs to Strathroy including Heart Save and the annual babysitting course.”

Visitation will be held at the Strathroy United Church, 92 Maria Street, (front doors at 131 Front Street) on Friday, Aug. 10 from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. and on Saturday, Aug. 11 from noon until the funeral service at 2 p.m. Private interment at Strathroy cemetery.

Obituary:

Peacefully in his sleep at Rus-ton Family Campground, Grand Bend on Wednesday August 8, 2012, William (Bill) David Gibson of Strathroy passed away, in his 69th year. Beloved husband of Val (nee Arthur) for 47 years. Loving father of Janna (Todd) Baker of Strathroy and Mike of Sarnia. Proud papa of Kiera Baker. Dear brother of Tom (Marg) of Strathroy and brother-in-law of Robin

(Mac) Westgate of London. Bill will be fondly remembered by many nieces, nephews, extended family and friends. Predeceased by his parents Austin and Blanche Gibson. Bill is a retired Fire chief (2009) of the Strathroy-Caradoc Fire Department with 45 years of service. Bill was a dedicated member of OAFC, OAFCR, volunteer for the RISK Watch program within the schools and a current Strathroy Legion member. Visitation will be held in the Strathroy United Church, 92 Maria St, Strathroy, on Friday from 4-9 p.m. and on Saturday, August 11, 2012 from 12 p.m. until time of Service at 2 p.m. with Rev. Art Hiley officiating. Private interment in Strathroy Cemetery. In memory of Bill, donations may be made to the Strathroy Firefighters Association or Muscular Dystrophy Canada. A tree will be planted as a living memorial to Bill.

Link to article:  Former fire chief passionate about his job - Passing of Retired Fire Chief Bill Gibson

 

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