Retired Southborough Fire Safety Officer Jack Peltier, 71, died on Sunday after a sudden illness, and his death is being mourned not just in Southborough, but in fire houses across the nation.
A Marlborough resident, Peltier joined the Marlborough fire service as an auxillary member when he was just 14 years old. He became assistant chief in 1985. At the time of his death he was serving as a fire safety officer in Berlin. Peltier had just retired his post as fire safety officer in Southborough this past October after holding the position for 12 years.
Peltier, along with colleagues Lt. Jim Colleary and EMT Cindy Bechtel, was honored with a service award just last week at the Board of Selectmen meeting. Fire Chief Joe Mauro said Peltier could not attend the ceremony because he had been hospitalized. Peltier’s son Jim, a lieutenant in the Southborough Fire Department, accepted the award on his father’s behalf.
“Jack brought a wealth of knowledge to us,” Mauro said, noting he was instrumental in the town’s effort to purchase a new ladder truck in 2009.
Peltier’s influence extended far beyond Southborough. Writes Firehouse magazine on their website:
Peltier was perhaps best known nationwide as the quartermaster of the hands-on training of firefighting drills at the Fire Department Instructors’ Conference when it was located in Cincinnati.
“One of the things I most admired about Jack is he wouldn’t take sh**from anyone,” said long-time friend and colleague, Harry Carter. “He wouldn’t do anything half-assed. It was done the right way the first time, or it wasn’t done at all.”
Peltier was an ardent supporter of the federal FIRE Act grant program and had participated in a 30-day “road trip” with Carter in 2006 where the two gentlemen traveled the country talking with firefighters to learn success stories for the federal grant program.
He is survived by his wife Sue, his daughters Ann Marie Peltier and Melissa Irish, his son Lt. Jim Peltier of the Southborough Fire Department, and his grandchildren, Jason Irish, and Sarah, Steven, Shawn, and Seth Peltier.
A funeral mass will be celebrated on Saturday, December 15 at 9:00 am at the Immaculate Conception Church in Marlborough (11 Prospect St.). Visiting hours will be held on Friday, December 14 from 4:00 -8:00 pm at the Slattery Funeral Home in Marlborough (40 Pleasant St.).
(Image: Jack Peltier via www.fireengineering.com)