FR&A Photo Gallery: Millstone Valley Fire Department, First Aid Squad, Community Honor James E. Fair

James Fair Memorial16

Fire truck bells that were rung at the Millstone Valley Fire Department during the April 5 memorial service for ex-Chief James E. Fair.

James E. Fair, the first black member of the Millstone Valley Fire Department, was remembered April 5 as a man of great integrity and love for his community.

Fair eventually rose to become chief of the department which refused him when he first applied in the 1970s.

Fair, 67, died Christmas Day 2013 at The Villages Hospital in The Villages, Fla.

Fair was also a president of the Millstone Valley First Aid Squad, which he joined after he was refused entry into the fire department. In addition, he was a member of the Somerset County Special Police, a Boy Scout leader and a volunteer with Big Brothers/Big Sisters.

Members of the first aid squad and fire department, along with Fair’s family, friends and widow, Jacqueline, first gathered at the East Millstone Methodist Church and later at the Millstone Valley fire house to honor him.

“Today was a time when the community that he so helped  and that he was such a part of had an opportunity to come out and celebrate his life,” said Daniel Dermer, an ex-chief of the fire department and the person who delivered Fair’s eulogy. “It was the church, it was the First Aid Squad and certainly here at the fire department.”

Also on hand to celebrate Fair’s life were Paul Hoeper, the first aid squad president; Ben Cove, the first aid squad chief; Raymond Heck, the fire department’s president; Fire Chief Stephen Stashek; past presidents of the fire department; Robert McDonnell; Peter D. Scilla; Eugene “Puts” Lazicky; Dr. Angus Kress Gillespie; Tom Bates, and John Yaccone.

The fire department’s past presidents carried out the ceremonial tolling of the bells, a tradition among fire fighters since the assassination of Pres. Abraham Lincoln.

Jacqueline Fair said she was overwhelmed by the tributes given to her husband.

“My heart is filled because I never expected that I would be married to a man of such great statute,” she said. “You would never know it because he was so humble.”

“It was an incredible tribute,” she said. “I was very very pleased about it.”

“He just loved children and loved his community,” Fair said. “He was raised in the church and the community just embraced him. He just had a sense of service, he knew that God put him here to serve the community.”

During the memorial service, Fair’s widow was presented with a framed American flag, and a memorial stone was dedicated to him by Bates and the fire department’s ex-chiefs.

James Fair Memorial 4-5-14



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