The Deer Park Fire Company d.b.a. Rehab 13 is very sad to announce the passing of former 1st Assistant Chief Don Dietz. Don joined the Deer Park Fire Company in 1973 and rose quickly through the ranks and eventually became second in command behind our former career Fire Chief, Wil C. Ward. Don suffered a fatal heart attack after a procedure at a hospital near his home.
Don was a giant (literally) of a man and a commanding presence on the fire ground and during training while the Deer Park Fire Company evolved during the years after our new headquarters station was built and occupied at the Marlkress Road location, which is now the headquarters station (Central Command) of the Cherry Hill Fire District #13.
Don also served as a Fire Commissioner after the September 1994 special election to form a new governing body for the newly formed Fire District # 13 in Cherry Hill. Don was involved in every aspect of the Deer Park Fire Company including but not limited to being part of the duty chief command structure, assisted with the planning of our smoke house and training center located on the station property, numerous new apparatus committees, and the planning and implementation of our efforts to develop our vehicle and other rescue capabilities.
Chief Dietz also chaired the DPFC membership committee for over a decade and helped to put in place a physical and written test for aspiring new members applying to the fire company for probationary membership. He was a great fire ground leader and most importantly gained the respect of his men and his peers in the volunteer fire service. He was also one of the nicest and friendliest men that most of us would know during our time at Deer Park Fire Company.
Don and his wife Pat moved to Greenville, SC after his retirement and found a home with huge lake to put their latest boat in to water ski and explore. Don and his family were avid water and snow skiers and many of the “young” guys at the fire company learned to water ski on Don’s boat on the mighty Mullica River. Later on a larger boat was purchased and they toured the Chesapeake Bay for hours and hours. There are so many great stories to tell that they would easily fill a book or two.
To say that Don Dietz was one of the “Good Guys” does not begin to tell his story.
To his amazing family – we have all suffered a tremendous loss and will forever remember him as a selfless, caring, individual that more than gave his best to his family, friends, and especially to the volunteer fire service that he loved so much.
Don, your spirit and good deeds will never be forgotten by the members of the Deer Park Fire Company.
Pat, Kathy, Doug, and the rest of the family; I hope you can find peace and solace during the difficult times ahead.
With our most sincere expression of sympathy for you tragic loss, the members of the Deer Park Fire Company thank you from the bottom of our hearts for letting Don be one of us for so many years. He will be greatly missed.