Joshua Comeau, a South Bend firefighter who battled an aggressive form of brain cancer after being diagnosed in 2014, has died. He was 41.
Comeau, a 12-year member of the fire department who rose to the rank of firefighter first class, underwent exploratory surgery after he was found in 2014 to have stage 4 glioblastoma, an aggressive form of brain cancer. After recovering and rehabilitation, he returned to work in South Bend Fire Station No. 9.
He ran in the Sunburst 5K race in June 2015 while still on his chemotherapy treatments.
The cancer returned in 2018, which limited Comeau to office duties. In addition to Station No. 9, he served as firefighter and advanced emergency medical technician at Central Station, Medic 12 at Penn fire and Station 4.
“Josh was a strong firefighter physically, mentally and spiritually,” Fire Chief Steve Cox said in a prepared statement. “Josh’s attitude and faith never faltered even in the toughest of times.”
In a December 2015 South Bend Tribune story about a family trip given to the Comeau family by a national charity, Josh dismissed taking credit when people called him an inspiration. He deflected the praises to his belief in God.
“It’s amazing what God can do with a sinner who tries,” he said. “People, what they find inspiring is someone trying to maintain a good attitude and be faithful in spite of adversity. But that’s grace, or a cooperation with grace from God. I don’t think I can recall being upset and stuck in that place of, ‘Why did this happen to me?’ It’s either an invitation to get busy dying or get busy living. You can lament the time you don’t have or celebrate the time you do.”
Funeral services are pending.