By Joe Barkovich, Scribbler-at-large
WELLAND – The past week was marked with sadness for Welland Fire Department members, present and past, who are now mourning the loss of two well-known retirees.
Legendary in the department was Michael “Mikey” Blazetich, who passed Wednesday, June 21 in his 95th year. He became a firefighter in 1952, Training Officer in 1965 and attained the rank of Deputy Chief in 1976. He retired in 1985.
Mr. Blazetich was a sports celebrity in Welland, playing on numerous baseball teams from 1938-1960. He was inducted into the Welland Sports Wall of Fame in 1998 for individual accomplishment, and two subsequent times, in 2001 with the 1942 Crowland Union Jacks and in 2012 with the 1940 Welland Wurbagools.
He was long interested in neighbourhood nostalgia and preservation, first as a member of the Crowland Old Boys, then the King Street Boys. Fire department history and heritage was another of his special interests and he was a long-time member of the Merrittsville Fire Brigade.
A detailed death notice is found on the Tribune and Cudney Funeral Home websites and is well worth the read.
The family will receive friends at the Cudney Funeral Home from 2 to 4 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m. on Monday, June 26. Mr. Blazetich’s funeral will be held Tuesday, June 27 at 11 a.m. in the Cudney Chapel.
Also being mourned is Richard “Rick” “Shooter” David, who passed Thursday, June 22, aged 70.
Mr. David was a professional firefighter in Welland, retiring after 31 years of service in 2003.
He was a gifted athlete in hockey, playing with Intermediate ‘A’ teams the Welland Merchants and Port Colborne Sailors, a coach and mentor to many young athletes in the same sport, and played fastball and golf. He immensely enjoyed cooking, especially for family and friends to whom he was known as “Chef Richard”.
Friends are invited to visit the family Monday, June 26 from 2 to 4 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m. at Pleasantview Funeral Home, 2000 Merrittville Highway, Thorold. The funeral service will be held in the Pleasantview Chapel Tuesday, June 27 at 11 a.m.
Mr. David is fondly remembered in a death notice that can be read on the Tribune and Pleasantview websites.