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Retired Chief Harold C. Roeder, Georgetown Fire Department, and longtime resident of Georgetown, died November, 8, 2018, at Carleton-Willard Village in Bedford. He was 77 years old.
Harold was born in Boston on August 16, 1941, the son of the late Harold E. and Rose L. (Schwenk) Roeder. He was full of vitality and optimism, fearless, never met a stranger, and seemed to find four-leaf clovers on demand.
In addition to his parents, Harold was predeceased by his daughter, Christina L. Roeder, his sister, Louise E. Barnwell, and his beloved cousin, Bruce R. Gregory. Surviving are children, Heidi J. Breault of Chelmsford and her fiancée, Joe Stancato, and son William C. Roeder and wife, Lisa (his “favorite daughter-in-law”), of Rocky Mount, NC; five grandchildren - Mitchell, Mason, and Maxwell Breault, all of Chelmsford, and Audrey and Adelaide Roeder of Rocky Mount, NC; his niece Wendi (Barnwell) Kerper, her husband, Richard, and their children, Alyssa and Amy, all of Lancaster, PA; and his nephew, Christopher Barnwell, his wife, Lynda, and their children, Joshua and Sarah, all of Rindge, NH.
Harold was the son of a call firefighter for the Lexington Fire Department who went on to be Fire Commissioner, and the great-grandson of a Boston call force firefighter (who worked steamers: Eagle Engine No. 3, Washington Street, South End and, later, Engine No. 4, first at Scollay Square, then 5 Bulfinch Street). He fulfilled his dream of becoming a firefighter by first joining the call force of the Lexington Fire Department and later joining the Georgetown Fire Department (Central Fire Company). After 44 years of firefighting, 36 for the Town of Georgetown, he retired as Chief in 2004. Newspaper mentions of his service included delivering his premature son and returning to the scene after sustaining significant injuries during The Great Lynn Fire of 1981.
A graduate of Lexington High School, Harold received an Associate in Engineering Degree (Civil Engineering Technology) from the Franklin Institute of Boston in 1964. After graduation, he worked for the Town of Concord as an assistant engineer.
Harold began his career as a small business owner in 1967 when he started his own company, Alarm Engineering. He later acquired municipal fire alarm equipment companies B&B Engineering and L.W. Bills Company. Largely self-taught, his ability to design, install, and troubleshoot everything from regional dispatch centers to telegraph boxes and punch registers throughout New England (and as far away as San Francisco) is a credit to his tenacity. He was immensely proud of his company’s achievements, made possible by its exceptional employees, and was delighted when it became employee-owned in 2014.
Harold loved to be among his friends who had professionally devoted themselves to fire safety. Some of his many memberships included Essex County Fire Chiefs Association (ECFCA), Fire Chiefs Association of Massachusetts (FCAM), New England Association of Fire Chiefs (NEAFC), International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC), New Hampshire Association of Fire Chiefs (NHAFC), Maine Fire Chiefs Association (MFCA), New York State Association of Fire Chiefs (NYSAFC), International Municipal Signal Association (IMSA), International Critical Incident Stress Foundation (ICISF), Essex County Fire Wardens, Essex County Fire Prevention, The Hundred Club of Mass., The Box 52 Club, and the Society for the Preservation and Appreciation of Antique Motor Fire Apparatus in America (SPAAMFAA). He also served as the Call/Volunteer Representative on the Massachusetts Fire Service Commission (FSC).
Harold appreciated any opportunity to show off his “museum” of historical fire department memorabilia. A 32nd Degree Scottish Rite Mason in the Valley of Boston, he was a faithful member for over 40 years and enthusiastically participated in the Shriners Aleppo Temple Fire Brigade in support of the Shriners Hospital for Children – Boston. He also enjoyed spending time at his camp in Norway, ME, gardening, walking, cruising, and attending performances at the North Shore Music Theatre.
In his last years, FCAM, in an exceptional gesture of kindness, granted him honorary membership status. They wrote, “In recognition and appreciation of your conspicuous service to the members of the Fire Chiefs Association of Massachusetts, your dedication and devotion to the advancement of education and promotion of fire education and life safety. The members of the Fire Chiefs Association of Massachusetts extend their gratitude for your work, which has been for the betterment of this association and the Massachusetts fire service and the general public.”
The family expresses heartfelt appreciation to his nurses and staff at the Ross-Worthen Center at Carleton-Willard.
Visitation with the family will be held from 10am to 1pm on Saturday, November 17, 2018, at Conte-Giamberardino Funeral Home, 14 Pleasant Street, Georgetown with a service at the Funeral Home thereafter. Interment will follow at the Puritan Lawn Memorial Park, Peabody.
In lieu of flowers, or other donations, please consider jotting down an anecdote or special memory of Harold to be shared with his grandchildren. If unable to be personally delivered, they may be sent to the family c/o the Funeral Home. For funeral home directions, florists or to sign the family guest book, please visit www.cgfuneralhomegeorgetown.com