Remembering former Owego Fire Chief Ed Franz

By Perry Russom

October 14, 2013 Updated Oct 14, 2013 at 11:01 PM EST

Owego, NY (WBNG Binghamton) The Owego Fire Department morns the loss of a longtime leader.

Former Chief Ed Franz died late last week.

Franz was a member of the department for more than 50 years.

Those close to Franz said he's someone who can't be replaced.

"I think he's an example, like many of the generation before us, that it's important to be a part of your community and be involved in volunteer service and activity and when somebody needs help, you drop whatever you're doing and provide that help to others," said John Loftus, of the Owego Fire Department.

Black cloth was draped over a wreath outside of his home fire station in Owego -- the Croton Hose Company.

It's a part of the house's tradition to have the initial of the firefighter's last name inside the wreath.

"A good friend," said Owego Deputy Fire Chief Robert Williams. "I knew him all my life. A good friend. A good guy to work with. I was deputy chief, worked under him and served on the administrative side and he was just a very good guy."

A member of the fire department and emergency squad, Franz was also a bus driver and played Santa Claus around Christmastime for the kids in the neighborhood.

Loftus said Franz helped out in the community because Franz thought it was just the right thing to do.

Franz served as fire chief in two different stints, with the most recent ending in May.

Franz was also a greeter at the Estey, Munroe & Fahey Funeral home, where his wake will be Tuesday evening.

Calling time is between 3 p.m. and 7 p.m.

He will be buried Wednesday at the St. Patrick's Church in Owego.

Franz died after a brief battle with cancer.

He was 71 years old.