Clallam County Fire District No. 5 Fire Chief Bob Wilson will be remembered for his tireless efforts to get improved communications equipment for firefighters in both Clallam and Jefferson counties.
Wilson, 58, died early Friday morning April 17 after a nearly yearlong fight with cancer.
A memorial service is set for 5 p.m. Friday, April 24, in the Quilcene schools gymnasium, 294715 Highway 101 in Quilcene.
The Rev. Dan Ward, pastor of the Quilcene Assembly of God, will officiate.
In 2007, Wilson was named fire chief for Jefferson County Fire District No. 5, which covers the Gardiner area.
For almost 20 years prior he was fire chief for Jefferson County Fire District No. 2, which covers the Quilcene area.
Jon Bugher, Clallam County Fire District No. 2 chief, said he became good friends with Wilson through their work on a technical committee set up by the Department of Homeland Security.
"When Homeland Security asked what we needed, Bob said, ‘Communications, communications, communications.’ He was adamant and committed to that and impassioned that all firefighters have portable radios and be able to call for help when needed," Bugher said.
Even as late as March, Wilson continued to represent his county and firefighters across the region, ensuring he got the tools to get the job done, Bugher said.
"He was one of the good guys. His memory will live on because of the things he did," Bugher said.
Steve Vogel, fire chief of Clallam County Fire District No. 3, said, "Bob was a dedicated firefighter. I’ve known him for 25 years and I always enjoyed his company. He
loved his fire department and loved the people he served."
Port Angeles Fire Chief Dan McKeen said Wilson always provided an enthusiastic attitude that made everyone’s day better.
"That’s one thing he always provided was his attitude, his sense of humor, making our day just a little bit brighter. He was fairly young, too. That goes to show every day is a gift," McKeen said.
Longtime friend and Jefferson County Fire District No. 2 Fire Chief Bob "Moe" Moser said, "I can’t think of anyone who can fill that man’s shoes.
"He never let the citizens of Jefferson Fire District 2 take second place to anything. He strongly believed that the fire department and the volunteers should have the best equipment to work with and he fought hard to get it.
"Through his leadership, both District 2 and District 5 became examples of dedicated fire departments," Moser said.
Born in San Bernardino, Calif., Wilson began with Quilcene Fire District 2 in
1985 as a volunteer.
In 1992, he was appointed as a part-time fire chief and he worked as a heavy equipment operator.
In 1999, the Quilcene Board of Fire Commissioners made Wilson the district’s first full-time chief – a position he held for 17 years.
He was the current chairman of the board for the Quilcene Assembly of God Church and a church elder.
He is survived by his wife, Veda; sons Joseph, 29, of Quilcene and Jacob, 23, of Port Orchard; and daughter, Dana, 18, a Quilcene High School senior.
He also is survived by his mother, Wilma, now living in Quilcene, and brother Ivan Wilson of Federal Way.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the Quilcene Fire Department, 70 Herbert St., Quilcene, WA 98376, or Quilcene Assembly of God Church, 160 Washington St., Quilcene, WA 98376.