George W. Green, who served as Washington Township's fire chief for more than 30 years and years ago helped keep some of the township from being annexed to Toledo, died Wednesday in St. Anne Mercy Hospital of complications following surgery for a bowel obstruction. He was 83.
Mr. Green worked as chief up until the day he went into the hospital several weeks ago, Chris Kaiser, Washington Township police chief, said.
"He was dedicated. He had the respect of all the officers, not only police but also firefighters," Chief Kaiser said. "He's touched so many people and had done so much."
Joining the newly formed Washington Township Fire Department in 1937, he became a captain two years later. He was appointed fire chief in 1973.
He also wore other township hats. He was a part-time township police officer. He served on zoning boards and, for a time, was a road superintendent.
Apart from those duties, he did road maintenance work for the Lucas County Engineer.
"He was Mr. Township," said Cecil Woodbury, a former township trustee and close friend. "He was politically active in the township when it extended clear out to Westgate."
His long association with township operations made him a valuable resource to trustees.
"He has just always been there through the ups and downs," Mary Dutkowski, a former township trustee, said.
Mr. Woodbury said the fire chief oversaw the department's equipment and training programs.
"It is probably the most well-equipped township fire department in the state," Mr. Woodbury said. "Everything that came along that a fire department needed to fight fires, George got."
While on the fire department, Mr. Green, along with others, tried unsuccessfully to thwart Toledo's efforts to annex large portions of the township in the early 1960s.
But they managed to preserve the small portion that remains today by preventing Toledo's attempt to annex it in the 1970s. "He fought that annexation with everything he had," Mr. Woodbury said.
Through the years, there were several attempts to unseat Mr. Green, usually by newly elected trustees. But he was adroit at extricating himself from such predicaments.
"He was pressed by other trustees who wanted to put their people in his position," Mr. Woodbury said. "But he always prevailed because he had the firemen with him. The firemen backed him pretty well."
Born in Washington Township, Mr. Green was a Navy veteran of World War II. He served aboard the USS Utah and survived the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor.
He was a member of numerous organizations, including Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3265, the Dad's Club, American Legion Post 110, and the Northwest Ohio Fire Chiefs Association.
Surviving are his wife, Joan; sons, George, Jr. and Robert; daughter, Peggy; five grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren.
Services will be at 11 a.m. Monday in Messiah Lutheran Church. The body will be in the Jasin Funeral Home after 2 p.m. tomorrow.
The family suggests tributes to Messiah Lutheran Church or the Washington Township Fire Department.