It’s with deep regret and sadness that Hockessin Fire Company announces the passing of one of our icons, and friend to all, Deputy Chief Emeritus Fred W. Long. Fred, who turned 80 this year, joined HFC in March 1959, and for those that spent any time as a HFC firefighter during those years, you knew Fred, fought fire with him, rode on an engine he drove, followed his direction at an incident, but most importantly, you listened to him and respected him.
An active firefighter from the beginning, Fred’s first officer position was as 1st Assistant Chief Engineer from 1968-1970, then Chief Engineer for 2 years until moving up to 1st Assistant Chief in 1973. Fred was elected annually in that position through 1986, when the new position of Deputy Chief was created and held by Fred until he stepped down in 2006. He was promptly granted the title of Deputy Chief Emeritus after retiring. 1973 also marked the year Chief Emeritus David P. Roser began his run as Fire Chief. Fred was second in command to Dave and the pair led our Company together for 30 years, until Dave’s retirement in 2003. Fred also spent time on the Board of Trustees and numerous other committees including the Sunshine Committee, where he ensured someone experiencing a hospital stay or recovery received a flower arrangement from the Company.
Fred was also vital to the operation of Memorial Hall. Hired as the full-time custodian in 1971, and in the position until his passing, Fred handled every aspect of the behind the scenes work in the Hall. From cleaning & maintenance to set-up & tear-down, along with plenty of food prep and cooking in the early years. This too includes his help with hundreds of Ladies Auxiliary events. It’s tough to recall him ever missing a day of work, and it’s safe to say he had a hand in every event held in the Hall since the day he started. He knew every aspect of the building from top to bottom, and was the ‘go-to’ person when you needed anything.
Back in his active firefighting days, Fred’s time in the Hall also led to him to either driving or riding the seat on daytime fire runs. Before the days of EMS staffing, he would often step in to drive the ambulance if a driver wasn’t available. In the evenings, he could be found in the TV room, in his green chair, enjoying the occasional cigar or 2. All of this time at the Station led him to become one of HFCs all-time leading fire responders.
Fred devoted his life to our Company, and we are forever indebted and grateful. Each and every one of us had a bond to Fred, and we all hurt with this loss. We will miss his laugh, miss stopping by the Kitchen to catch up, miss watching him dig into a Boston Creme or various sweets, miss seeing him working in the Hall, miss trying to find him when he would disappear to his still unknown hiding spot, miss eating lunch with him while watching Channel 6 news, miss him riding the seat of 19-2 at the 4th of July Parade, but overall, just miss him being there.
Services are pending.
– Submitted by Mark Felicetti