Former Oregon Fire Chief Gene R. Groll, who worked in the Oregon Volunteer Fire Department for nearly 40 years, is being remembered as a family man who loved being a firefighter.
“Family always came first for my dad,” said Jeff Groll, one of Gene’s five children. “He loved to be a firefighter. Growing up, we always did firefighting things together. If there was a fire department function or a parade, we would always be a part of it.”
Groll, 86, died Wednesday, Sept. 8, after a long illness.
Jeff said his father was the consummate professional, “a firefighter’s firefighter,” who enjoyed helping train the rank and file.
“He was a very good teacher, very patient. He was a very kind person. It was always easy for him to work with people,” said Jeff.
His dad considered the fire department as his extended family, added Jeff.
“It wasn’t just a job. The people he worked with were also family. He thought that people who worked together, and enjoyed themselves together after work, were most effective. If you could play together after work, it was easy to work together.”
Oregon Fire Chief Ed Ellis called Gene “a good guy.”
“He was a very fair and equitable leader. He treated the part-time firefighters like people rather than his subordinates,” said Ellis. “He was easy to talk to and have a discussion with. He was just an all-around, really nice guy.”