Friday, May 11, 2007
Nacogdoches Fire Capt. Joe Ed Ivy, passed away Saturday morning at Clear Lake Regional Medical Center in Webster, Texas, according to a press release issued by the fire department. He was in the Houston area for fire command training.
Ivy died at about 2 a.m. Saturday at Clear Lake Regional Medical Center in Webster, near Houston, where he and four other captains were attending a high-rise fire training session. As captain of a ladder truck at Fire Station 1 on North Street, Ivy was training to lead firefighters into blazes that could occur at local university buildings and industrial structures.
After feeling poorly, Ivy passed out about 1:30 a.m. His co-workers attempted CPR and rushed him to the hospital, according to NPD Chief Keith Kiplinger.
"He was traditional old school," said Terry Westmoreland, Ivy's cousin and Nacogdoches fire marshal, " ... the kind who came up with a lot of honor, a man's man who liked to work hard."
A burly man with a handlebar moustache, Ivy joined NFD in 1973, and he rose in the ranks to become a driver and lieutenant, a position now called captain. Growing up in Cushing, he was a "phenomenal athlete," Westmoreland said, able to dunk a basketball from a flat-footed jump and a dominant hurdler on the track team.
Ivy was "sharp as a tack" and enjoyed crosswords puzzles and Western novels, Westmoreland said, and he was a "real cowboy," running cattle until his age caught up with him.
Along with Westmoreland, Ivy's brother, Danny, and his cousin, Ricky, also worked for NFD.
"That's normal for the fire service. It's common for families to get it in the blood," said Kiplinger, who worked under Ivy in the early 1990s.
In a career that involved a great amount of trust between co-workers, Ivy inspired others. His reputation as a leader and an able firefighter made him stand out to the rookies.
Even as he aged, Ivy's athleticism allowed him to outwork younger firefighters, according to Dewayne Sims, a three-year NFD veteran and president of the Nacogdoches Professional Firefighters Association.
"Ed was, of course, a veteran, and it was almost like hero-worship for the guys who had just been hired on," Sims said.
"Everybody always knew what Ed was capable of doing. He was concrete," he said.
His greatest skill was leading others into a burning building. People followed and trusted him, Westmoreland said.
Ivy leaves behind a daughter, Molly, and a son, Blake, a student at SFA, as well as his brothers, Danny and Jay.
"The bottom line is that when you think of a professional firefighter from the ground up, you think of this guy — strong as a bull, not afraid of anything, looked out for others," Westmoreland said.
"We all try to help each other out so our guys have a chance to mourn," Kiplinger said.
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