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Published: Saturday, 5/8/2004

Firefighter worked at Lima tank factory

LIMA - Gerald E. Davisson, a former fire chief at the Army tank plant here for 24 years, died of pneumonia April 30 in Mountain View Hospital, Las Vegas. He was 68.

Mr. Davisson, chief since 1978, had worked at the plant since 1962. He retired in March, 2002.

Much of his work at the plant involved inspecting the buildings and sprinkler systems to make sure they were up to code. He also designed a fire truck for General Dynamics, his son said.

"It was a Humvee that he turned into a fire truck," he said.

Mr. Davisson started out as a volunteer firefighter in Eldorado, Ohio. He loved fighting fires and helping people, so when he moved to Englewood, Ohio, he joined the department there, his son said.

Another son remembered having fun spending time with his father at the Englewood fire station, climbing on the trucks and riding them around the city.

"I'd wear his helmet and everything," his son Kevin said.

Mr. Davisson also served on the Randolph Township, Montgomery County, Ohio, fire department.

"I think he liked the camaraderie," his son Kevin said.

Mr. Davisson was born April 4, 1936, in Richmond, Ind. He graduated from Monroe High School near Eldorado in 1954.

He joined the Army and served in Korea after the Korean War ended.

After he retired, he and his wife moved to Las Vegas. They had fallen in love with its warm winters while visiting one of their sons there.

Mr. Davisson was a big Ohio State University football fan. His son Kevin, an OSU graduate, got alumni tickets that Mr. Davisson used to attend the games.

In Lima, Mr. Davisson met some people with a hot-air balloon and became a member of the ground crew, eventually riding in the balloon several times.

Mr. Davisson was a member of the United Methodist Church and the Veterans of Foreign Wars in Englewood.

Surviving are his wife of 44 years, Peggy Ann Davisson; sons, Douglas E. and Kevin Eugene Davisson; sisters, Beverly Conard and Peggy Lou Tesch; and one granddaughter.

Services will be held at 11 a.m. today at Bussard-Barnes-Vaniman Funeral Home in Eldorado.

The family suggests tributes to the Englewood Fire Department or a local fire department of the donor's choice.

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