May 27 - We deeply regret to announce the passing of our brother retiree Joe Yoga last Sunday morning at Connecticut Hospice in Branford.
Funeral Mass was held on Friday morning, May 30th, at St. Thomas Becket Church in Cheshire.
Joe started his fire service career in 1959 as a member of the Mt. Carmel Volunteer Fire Co. No. 5, and was appointed to the career department in 1965. While attempting the rescue of a young woman from an apartment fire above the Merryfield Veterinary Hospital on Shepard Avenue, Joe suffered a severe back injury that forced his retirement from the department in 1980.
Following his retirement, Joe served as a dispatcher for the Cheshire Police Department for twenty-two years. Joe was an active member of the HFRA and regularly attended meetings during the past five years.
Our thoughts and prayers are with Joe's wife, Lillian, and the rest of the Yoga family.
In its May 27, 1954 edition, The Hamden Chronicle published this photo of eight Hamden firefighters, all WWII veterans, who attended fire school in New Haven.
From left to right:
Appointed in 1951, Joe Collins served on the department for six years.
Warren Blake (1923-2009) remained with the department for thirty years, retiring in 1979. Warren was on leave from the department during 1950-51 to return to duty in the U.S. Navy during the Korean War.
With 31 years of service, Ken Harrington (1919-1988) retired in 1980 as Deputy Chief/Training Officer.
John O'Hare, the rookie of the group, retired in 1991 after 38 years with the department. John regularly attends the quarterly meetings of the retirees association.
Francis "Chalky" Leddy (1921-2002) was brother of Chief V. Paul Leddy (1919-1994) and father of retired Chief James Leddy. He served 40 years with the department, retiring in 1986 at the rank of Deputy Chief (Commander of Platoon 4).
Art Smith (1912-1983) retired in 1977 after 31 years of service. He was an active member of the Humphrey Volunteer Fire Association.
George Reutenauer (1919-2005) served 38 years, retiring in 1984 at the rank of Deputy Chief (Commander of Platoon 3).
Bill Esposito, barely visible in the photo, served with the department from 1949 until 1960.
Former Hamden firefighters Joe Collins and Bill Esposito left the department well over fifty years ago. We do not know of their status or even if they are still with us. Any information on either of these two gentlemen would be greatly appreciated.
Memorial Day 2014
Website thanks to Steve Randall for these photos
Photo by Steve Randall
Co. 7's 96-year old Brockway, always a crowd pleaser (Photo by Steve Randall)
Co. 8's Dave Lockery's 1946 Maxim on a Diamond-T chassis. Between 1938 and 1977, Hamden had four of these Diamond-T pumpers manufactured by Woods Engineering. (Photo by Steve Randall)
May 30, 1954
The Hamden Chronicle, June 3, 1954 (Hamden Historical Society) - CLICK to enlarge
Until 1971, Memorial Day was always observed on May 30th. In 1954, Memorial Day fell on a Sunday, so the parade was held the following day.
FYI Dept - The Uniform Monday Holiday Act of 1968 mandated that starting in 1971 four federal holidays would be observed on a Monday. Washington's Birthday (February 22nd) was moved to the third Monday of February. Although not officially part of the Act, this ostensibly combined the observances of Lincoln's birthday (February 12th) and Washington's birthday into what is popularly known as "Presidents Day."
Memorial Day, observed tradi- tionally on May 30th, would be observed on the last Monday of May. Columbus Day, traditionally October 12th, would be observed on the second Monday of October. And Veterans' Day, traditionally observed on the anniversary of the 1918 Armistice, November 11th, would thenceforth fall on the fourth Monday of October.
In 1978, Congress moved Veterans' Day back to its traditional November 11th date. In recent years, many unsuccessful legislative attempts have been made to move Memorial Day back to the traditional May 30th date.
Hamden's First and Second World War Rolls of Honor
(Photos courtesy of the Hamden Historical Society)
In 1917, after the United States entered the 1914-1918 "World War," as that conflict was known before WWII, the names of Hamden residents in military service were displayed on a "Roll of Honor" that was situated on the front lawn of the old town hall, as seen below in a 1918 photo.
U.S. military records indicate that future career department members Ralph Rosson (1887-1972) and Clement Kammerer (1894-1973) both served in the U.S. Army during 1918.
Hamden Town Hall, Whitney and Dixwell (1888-1923)
From 1942 until 1951, Hamden's World War II Honor Roll stood on the site of the future Miller Memorial Library building at 2914 Dixwell Avenue (now gone). The names of Hamden residents who served in the armed services during World War II were displayed on many large wooden panels.
Hamden's World War II Honor Roll was located on Dixwell Avenue, where Miller Memorial Library was erected in 1951
It is not clear exactly what happened to the World War II Honor Roll panels after they were taken down for the construction of Miller Memorial Library. Some former Public Works employees have speculated that the panels wound up in a Public Works garage once located on Norwood Avenue and, sadly, were eventually discarded.
Sharing a few photos from Memorial Day 1970, the last year that this national day of remembrance was always observed on May 30th. From 1971 on, Memorial Day would always be observed on the last Monday of May.
Ffs. John Reynolds, Charlie Carlson, Bob "Whitey" Williams, and Dave McDermott - CLICK to enlarge
From R-L: 1965 Mack, 1958 Maxim 75' "Junior" Aerial Truck, and 1968 Maxim S-Model. The ladder truck was painted red the following year - CLICK to enlarge
Co. 9's 1929 Seagrave Aerial Ladder Truck (Photo by Ed Doiron, Sr.)
The reviewing stand at town hall. (Photo by Ed Doiron, Sr.)
USMC Iraq War Veteran & Hamden Volunteer Alumnus
Promoted to Lieutenant in S.C. Fire Department
Lieut. Chris Lewis (center) and crew, Burton Fire District, Beaufort, SC
Chris Lewis, a longtime member and alumnus of Hamden's Mt. Carmel Volunteer Volunteer Co. 5, has been promoted to Lieutenant in the Burton Fire District of the Beaufort [South Carolina] Fire Department.
Prior to becoming a career firefighter, Chris served eight years in the United States Marine Corps, during which he was deployed several times. During his last deployment to Iraq in 2004, Chris was severely injured in an attack that claimed the lives of six of his brother Marines. Seven days after his discharge from the USMC in 2009, Chris was appointed to the Beaufort Fire Department.
The members of the HFRA congratulate Lieutenant Lewis, wishing him a long, productive and safe career. We are especially proud that Chris' fire service career started here in Hamden. Thank you for your service to our country, Chris!