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Procession, memorial honors life of Wash. firefighter-paramedic who died of cancer

“We will all miss that fried chicken, but not as much as [Joe Killian’s] big heart,” said Clark County Fire District 6 Chief Kristan Maurer


Photo/Clark County Fire District 6

Becca Robbins
The Columbian

VANCOUVER, Wash. — Family, firefighters and community members gathered Tuesday to memorialize retired Clark County Fire District 6 firefighter-paramedic Joe Killian, who recently died of cancer.

A processional escorted the antique fire engine carrying Killian’s casket from fire station 63 to the service at the Liberty Bible Church of the Nazarene.

At the church, friends and fellow firefighters shared memories of the 26-year veteran of Fire District 6 at a ceremony that was also streamed virtually.

Fire Chief Kristan Maurer said Killian, 56, was known for his professionalism and his fried chicken he’d cook at the station for dinner.

“We will all miss that fried chicken, but not as much as Joe’s big heart that was only rivaled by his big laugh,” she said. “We will definitely miss that laugh.”

Killian died from multiple myeloma, or a cancer of the plasma cells. Maurer noted that is a common cancer among firefighters and that January is Firefighter Cancer Awareness Month.

Ryan Reese, president of the Vancouver firefighter’s union, described Killian as passionate about his job but also someone who knew how to have a good time off duty.

Friend and former coworker of Killian’s Rick Dalstrom shared memories of fun times with the retired fireman and the way he cared for his family.

Photos of Killian’s life played over some of his favorite songs, including “Here for a Good Time” by George Strait and “Summer Nights” by Van Halen.

Fire crews from across the area presented Killian’s family with things to honor him, including a Washington state flag on behalf of state residents and a certificate promising a brick in Killian’s name on the Walk of Honor at the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial in Maryland.

“Joe was clearly a lover of life, but not just a lover — he was also a giver of life,” Fire District 6 Chaplain Peter Schrater said. “We heard that over and over, he was someone who went into any situation, whether professional or relational or just for relaxation, and he brought life.”


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