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Published: Friday, 4/9/2004

Former fireman loved to travel, gamble, cook

Eugene V. Bogucki, 81, who retired as an inspector for the state fire marshal after a 30-year career as a Toledo firefighter, died Wednesday in Flower Hospital from complications of heart problems.

Mr. Bogucki of Sylvania Township underwent hip replacement surgery last month, though he had been in kidney dialysis for three years. He used a walker and took cruises and visited Las Vegas, his daughter Chris Shnider said.

"He still loved to travel and go gambling," his daughter said. "He attempted the hip replacement because he wanted to maintain his active lifestyle. He didn't want to be sedentary."

Mr. Bogucki became a Toledo firefighter in 1949 and worked at Station No. 16 on Detroit Avenue and, for many years, at Station No. 9 on Broadway. He fought house fires and commercial fires.

He and another firefighter were captured by a Blade photographer on a railroad track battling a warehouse fire just as a wall tumbled in the background and the men began to let go of the firehose, his daughter said. The photo was part of a Toledo Museum of Art display of news photography, she said.

He retired in 1979 as a lieutenant.

"He always felt grateful that he didn't have to fight the fires that resulted in tragedy, the loss of life, just the loss of property," his daughter said.

On his days off, he worked at Vallet Paint Service on Adams Street and was responsible for inventory and ordering supplies.

He was an inspector for the state fire marshal's office for nearly six years, retiring in 1988. He was sent to schools, nursing homes, and other facilities in Lucas and Fulton counties to check their exits, smoke detectors, and fire control systems.

"That made him feel good, too, preventing potential problems," his daughter said. "He enjoyed getting out and meeting with people."

Mr. Bogucki grew up on Belmont Avenue and was a graduate of Macomber Vocational High School. He was a Navy veteran of World War II and was an aviation ordnance specialist in the Pacific Theater.

In retirement, he and his wife, Alice, traveled and bowled and golfed in senior leagues. The couple married Sept. 13, 1947. She died Oct. 23, 1991.

He later joined a group for single adults and attended dances.

He was a 57-year member of St. Hyacinth Church, where he had been president of the Holy Name Society and the parish council. He was a member of Catholic War Veterans Logsdon-Walla Post.

Mr. Bogucki was the grocery shopper and cook on his shift while a firefighter. He remained active in the kitchen after leaving the fire station. "He would call up and say, 'Tell the grandkids I've cooked up a pot of chili or a pot of vegetable soup or a pot of chop suey,'" his daughter said.

Surviving are his daughters, Kathy Kirkbride, Chris Shnider, Sue Augustyniak, and LuAnn Andersen; and eight grandchildren.

Visitation will be held from 4 to 8 p.m. today and from 2 to 8 p.m. tomorrow in the Sujkowski Mortuary, Northpointe. A recitation of the Rosary by the St. Hyacinth Church Holy Name and St. Vincent de Paul societies and the CWV Logsdon-Walla Post will be held at 4 p.m. today in the mortuary, where a Last Alarm service by the retiree firefighters association will be held at 7 p.m. tomorrow. There will be no visitation on Sunday. Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. Monday in St. Hyacinth Church.

The family suggests tributes to the church endowment fund or to the Kidney Foundation of Northwest Ohio.



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