Fire Chief, Gar Wilson April 22, 1943 - March 8, 2021
Gar Wilson worked 72 hours with no sleep during a bad winter one year plowing the streets. “That’s how dedicated he was to his community,” shared his wife, Shirley.
“If you needed help doing something, he would be there as soon as he could get there. He just worked hard at everything he was doing. That is the big thing I always remember about him,” shared Neal Sage, a retired member of the township fire department who started the same year as Gar in 1971. They also worked together in the City of the Village of Clarkston. Gar was head of the DPW and Sage was a village councilman. “He would do anything for you,” Sage said.
“He was a great guy to work with,” said Larry Wormnest, who knew Gar for close to 40 years and worked with him for 25 years.
Gar Wilson lived in Clarkston most of his life, beginning when he was born to his parents, William and Doris Wilson on April 22, 1943.
Gar was fire chief for Independence Township for 15 years. He retired from the fire department after 30 years. He started out as a volunteer for the fire department in his 20s. He was one of the first three fireman hired full time. He helped build the new station the department is now housed in when he was on the fire department his building was on Church Street.
Al Doran, a retired lieutenant from Independence Fire, was hired by Gar in 1989. “Gar was a man of integrity and he was also my friend,” Doran said. “If someone needed something in the department, if there was an issue, he was always there to help you. It didn’t matter what it was. He always had a hand out. He would have given you the shirt off his back. He was a helpful and sincere person. He was a good chief. He was dedicated to the fire service. He was a family man. I worked with him on the personal level, too. He came up for a breakfast and I invited him over, but he couldn’t come. Then, he passed away.”
Tom McDonald, a captain with the township department, remembers Gar’s strong work ethic. “He was the first chief I worked under in the department. He was the chief who hired me,” McDonald shared. “He always set a great example of what you should do to serve the community. He had an extremely strong work ethic. This is more for the people who knew Gar but one of the funniest things to see was watching him run. If he was trying to get to something quickly he had a run that was like nobody else’s.”