Friday, December 6, 2002


Fire chief saw need
for education

See also: Obituaries

By Nelson Daranciang

Retired Honolulu Fire Chief Richard "Dickie" Young had been a firefighter just eight months when Japanese warplanes bombed Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941.

He was sent to put out fires at Hickam Air Field but instead found himself under fire.

"One man on his crew was killed, another was wounded," said Attilio Leonardi, the current fire chief.

Young died Nov. 23. He was 85. He was also the last surviving Honolulu firefighter on duty during the attack.

Young remained a Honolulu firefighter and went on to become fire chief on Feb. 1, 1966. Mayor Neal Blaisdell appointed him to the post after the previous chief, William Blaisdell, the mayor's brother, died in office.

Young retired from the Honolulu Fire Department on Jan. 2, 1969, and went on to serve 18 years as the resident manager for the Princess Leilani Condominium.

Leonardi said Young played a key role in the development of the fire science program in the community colleges.

"He was a real advocate for education," Leonardi said.

Waiau Fire Capt. Eddie Amina is one of a few firefighters still in the department who worked for Young.

Amina said Young was a well-respected deputy chief and chief.

"He took care of his people, his men. He was always smiling and he always remembered your name," Amina said, "If you see him, even years later, he will call you by name."

Kailua Fire Capt. Walter Makaula said Young had a quiet personality which contrasted with the boisterousness of Blaisdell, the previous chief.

Young is survived by wife Lenore; son Richard Jr., a firefighter at the Pawaa Fire Station; daughters Maydene Simmons, Laura Chong and Collette Jeremiah; eight grandchildren; nine great-grandchildren; and one great-great-granddaughter.

Visitation is from 9 to 10:45 a.m. tomorrow at St. George Catholic church in Waimanalo, followed by the eulogy at 10:45 a.m., Mass at 11:30 a.m. and burial at 1 p.m. at Hawaiian Memorial Park.

E-mail to City Desk


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