It was once common for career and volunteer Fire Chiefs to work up until a typical mandatory retirement age of 65 or even 70. Fire Chiefs and firefighters typically have shorter tenures today, with greatly improved public employee retirement systems that typically target 30 years of service. Before the 1980's, however, not only was early retirement unusual, it was sometimes the case that the Chief loved the job so much that they'd say 'I'd like to keep working' if only there were no mandate to step down. Sometimes, of course, physical health issues would also require the separation. San Anselmo Fire Department, for example, had only a handful of Fire Chiefs spanning a period of over 70 years before becoming part of the Ross Valley Fire Protection District in 1980. We will eventually publish all of their biographies.
This week we are sharing the story of San Anselmo Fire Chief Frank Sousa, who served his community for 40 years, retiring in 1973. With thanks to his son Antone Sousa and the Ross Valley Reporter/Marinscope Newspapers, we have the story from 1986 about Frank that was published after he passed away that year. Thanks also to reporter Sue Barnett of the Ross Valley Reporter. Antone, now retired from a teaching career, serves on the San Anselmo Historical Commission, and volunteers at the museum. He has graciously shared many great photos of the San Anselmo Fire Department taken during his father's career. We look forward to updating the story soon with more information on Frank's descendants, and more photos.
Our Blog announces new site content, and gives the context of the topic and it's relationship to fire service history. Written by Tom Forster.