Updated: Thursday evening.

I apologize for the name differentiation. I had William G. Walters and knew he went by Jerry or Stick. I figured it was short for Gerald, but I did not know he was a Jr. My apologies. His obituary is added below with funeral arrangements.

William Gerald Walters Jr.
William Gerald (Jerry) Walters Jr., 59, of Roanoke, Va., passed away early Wednesday, September 23, 2009, following a short illness at Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital. He is survived by his wife, Judith Ann Miller Walters; a son, William Gerald Walters III; his mother, Mary Elizabeth Walters; mother-in-law, Kathleen Miller; two sisters and spouses, Diana and Clarence Woods, Marilyn and Charles “Chuck” Evans; one brother and spouse, James Michael and Tammy Walters; two sisters-in-law and spouses, Caroline and Ronnie England; Lula and Jerry Snyder and one brother-in-law and spouse, Frank Jr. and Karen Miller; numerous loving nieces and nephews and friends and his faithful companion, Michi-girl. He was preceded in death by his father, William G. Walters Sr. and father-in-law, Franklin Miller Sr. An Armed Forces Veteran, he worked as a firefighter and EMT for the City of Roanoke until his retirement in 1997. The family will receive friends Friday, September 25, 2009, from 2 to 4 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m. at Oakey’s North Chapel, 540…. Funeral services with the Rev. Mark Washington officiating will be Saturday, 12 noon, at Oakey’s North Chapel. Interment will follow at Blue Ridge Memorial Gardens.

William G. Walters, or Jerry or Stick to most, passed away today. Stick was hired on November 22, 1974. He retired aroune 2000 although I don’t have the exact date. He was nicknamed “Stick” because he was tall and skinny!

I knew Stick pretty well for never having worked with him. I was hired in 1999 and he probably retired right around the same time I was hired. Stick’s last assignment was Station 8. He suffered a stroke last year, and I remember him telling me about his recovery. He fully recovered from the stroke from what I could tell and was always good for a couple of stories when he stopped by the Credit Union. Stick will be missed.

More information will be added when we know it. Enjoy the photos below circa early 1990′s taken by Maurice Wiseman.



I have been busy recently, but that is no excuse for not getting the news up here. I expect a longer post in the next couple days with photos and all. Let me know if I missed any…

Kenny Walker (14B) retired yesterday with 20 years in the FD and 8 more elsewhere in the City.

Brad Underwood (ARFFB) retired yesterday with 27 years on the job.

Chuck Mills retired about a month ago and I only found out last week. He had 18 years in the FD. Chuck is pursuing work in the Middle East. He will be working in Iraq as a firefighter.

I will have more information in the near future when I have time.

Good luck guys!

Peter L. Price
Peter L. Price, 85, of Stewartsville, passed away suddenly on Saturday morning, May 16, 2009. He served in the United States Navy during World War II and retired as a Captain from the Roanoke City Fire Department with 35 years service. He was a long-time active member of Belmont Presbyterian Church, where he and his wife were married 61 years ago. He was preceded in death by his parents, Will and Bettie Price; one sister, Estelle; two brothers, John and Clay; and a son, Kenneth. Surviving are his wife, Bea Pasley Price; his children, David (Carol) of Conyers, Ga., Charles (Susan) of Greenville, N.C.; one daughter, LouAnn (David) Swisher of Martinsville, Va.; three grandchildren, Beth (Steve) Carter of Covington, Ga., Greg (Veronica) Price of Winterville, N.C. and Landon Price of Nags Head, N.C.; one great-grandson, Kyle Carter of Covington, Ga.; and dearest friends, Jimmy and Gloria Jennings of Roanoke and Fred and Jean Swisher of Vinton. Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, May 19, 2009 at Belmont Presbyterian Church with Pastor Emily Hoyer officiating. Burial will follow at Evergreen Burial Park. Visitation will be held at Oakey’s Vinton Chapel on Monday May 18, 2009 from 2 to 4 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m. Flowers will be appreciated or donations may be made in his name to Belmont Presbyterian Church, 1005 Ninth Street, SE, Roanoke, Va., 24013 or to the National D-Day Memorial, P.O. Box 77, Bedford, Va., 24523. Arrangements by Oakey’s Vinton Chapel, 540-982-2221.

dsc00044bCaptain Pete Price passed away yesterday. He was hired on November 1, 1948 and retired April 28, 1984. He was a true character among Roanoke’s Bravest.

I met Pete along with Robert Guthrie back about 8 years ago at another firefighter’s funeral. I do not remember who’s funeral it was, and at the time I rarely knew the retired firefighters we were burying. So there I was with some of my brothers and we were talking to Pete and Robert after the graveside service. Those guys just took to us and told us some stories. Some of the stories probably had to do with the deceased, others were just about the FD. One thing was sure; Pete and Robert were hilarious and had some great stories.

It wasn’t too long from that funeral that I bumped into Pete and Robert at another Retired Firefighter’s Funeral. Once again we enjoyed the camaraderie after the interment with Pete and Robert.

Then there was the retirees breakfasts at the Union Hall. We just wrapped up the third one and you should see the look on those guys faces when they get together. However, there were always those guys who seemed to enjoy it more…like Pete Price and Roady Kelly. Pete was all smiles and enjoyed telling the stories.

And so it was the case this past Tuesday, at the retirees breakfast, that I got to hear some of Pete’s stories again. Lucky for you all I recorded it.

I must say that Pete was one of those guys I could listen to all day long.

This morning, IAFF Local 1132 members hosted a breakfast in honor of retired firefighters from the Roanoke Fire-EMS Department (although all were hired and most retired when it was still the Roanoke Fire Department). The breakfast was attended by about 50 firefighters, a couple of spouses/relatives, and a handful of helpful Local 1132 members. The highlight was having Bob Gillespie attend. Bob will be 95 in a couple of months and is the oldest living retired firefighter. There were so many firefighters in attendance who do not get to see one another on a regular basis. The guys loved being around each other and to tell stories on each other.

The Retirees normally meet on the second Tuesday of every month for a breakfast at K&W Cafeteria. Our breakfast took the place of the normal breakfast.

Roanoke City Mayor David Bowers stopped by to say hello as well as Roanoke Fire Fighters Association President Rodney Jordan and Roanoke Fire-EMS Chief David Hoback.

The event was put on by Captain Willie Wines Jr. (C-Shift VP) and most of his crew from Station 9 C-Shift. Thanks to all who helped including Robert Reid, Rachel Winter, Ben Obaugh, Scott Boone, Craig Sellers, Baron Gibson, Rodney Jordan, and Willie Wines Sr.

I must admit that you don’t really know about our fire department until you have hung out with these guys a couple of times. Enjoy the pictures and video.

Editors note: you are getting the videos in their entirety because I have not learned how to edit them yet. Give me some time and I will catch up to the technology! I have a camcorder that records in HD, but I lose some of the quality when uploading to youtube. I hope to figure this out in the future to make it better.

Video of the Retirees getting settled in and catching up.

Captain Wines welcoming the retirees.

Pete Price reminiscing over the past. Great stories!

1140Battalion Chief Audie Ferris retired on April 8th after working for the Roanoke Fire Department and Roanoke Fire EMS Department for 28 years. Ferris was hired on November 20, 1980 and was promoted to Battalion Chief in 1999 if my memory serves me correctly. His most recent assignment has been BC of Southside A-Shift as well as being in charge of HTR and the Swift Water Rescue Team.

The Southside A shift firefighters had a party for him on Monday at Station 1 and Admin had a get together for him on Wednesday.

View pictures on the Station 6 blog here.

We wish you the best Chief.

Audie is retiring from the fire department and from what I hear will be working with the State Medical Examiners Office located in Roanoke County as an MSI.

I have attached some photos of Audie for your pleasure as well. Some old and some real old. Enjoy.


The Budget is on the forefront of news this week. City Council is trying to hone in on what will be the cuts for the future year. I am sure many of you remember we lost 6 or 9 positions last year (still unclear on the number). This year we already stand to lose 6 according to the Roanoke Times. Those 6 were once told they were going to take from Clearbrook and move to Station 8 to put Medic 8 in service. It will be interesting to see what happens. You can read the Roanoke Times article here.

Nine firefighters will retire this year from the Roanoke Fire EMS Department. The retirements stem from an incentive to leave before December 1st after giving notice by March 16th. The incentive comes just in time to beat the increase in health care next year which ranges from $100 to $200 per month depending on the health care plan. Forty-Six Roanoke City employees took advantage of the retirement incentive. Read more abou the retirements here. Congratulations to those who will be retiring. Estimates are that the guys leaving have around 230-250 years of service. I look forward to attending some of the retirement parties!

The City Council voted to suspend the 457 contribution paid by the City effective April 1st. The contribution was a match up to $25 per paycheck. I am not sure how many employees Roanoke City has, but based on 1200 if everyone took advantage of the match, Roanoke City will save 780k each year or 30k per period the match is suspended. The suspension was put in place to help Roanoke City cover a budget deficit this fiscal year. Hopefully, they will add it into the budget for next year. The news of the suspension was emailed out via City email.

Mark Podlewski is retiring effective November 1, 2008. His last day on the job was Tuesday, September 2nd. Mark was hired by the Roanoke Fire Department on July 1, 1991, although he actually transferred from the Roanoke Police Department where I believe he was hired in 1984.

Mark’s last assignment was at Station 13 on A-Shift with Captain Yearout. He will be missed. I always enjoyed getting him riled up in the mornings as he enjoyed getting under my skin too.

Good luck in your retirement Mark.

Retired Captain James Givens passed away on Friday. He worked for the Roanoke Fire Department for 42 years, serving most of them at Station 9. The funeral arrangements are as follows: viewing Sunday 2-4pm and 6-8pm; viewing Monday 6-8pm; Funeral Tuesday 2pm all at the Downtown Oakey’s. Honor Guard Members are needed. Contact Richard Lipes, Chief Tartaglia, or myself by pager if you can help. Also needed are pallbearers for the funeral, his wife is requesting members who worked with him.

Someone asked a question in a comment on the last post about Butch Ferguson. I do not know how he is doing exactly. I do know that he is living at the Raleigh Court Health Care Center. He suffered a stroke a year ago January and another one more recently. The last time I saw him was in November. He was getting around then, although there was obvious deficiencies due to the stroke.

I got word today that Retired Captain Givens is at RMH. His wife contacted the guys at 9 and I was relayed the message. I contacted her and she said that he is not doing very well. Call me and I will give you the room number.

Update in comments if you have further.