Douglas J. Brossia, 62, a paramedic who worked on the life squad in Whitehouse from the inception in 1978 of Lucas Countywide emergency medical services, died Monday in his Whitehouse home.
Family members did not know the cause of death. He had some health problems, but had not been ill, his wife, Marianne, said.
Mr. Brossia retired in March, 2004, from Life Squad 9, on which he'd worked for 26 years as part of Regional Emergency Medical Services of Northwest Ohio and its successor, Lucas County EMS.
"We always looked at him as the stable one," said Chief Daryl McNutt of the Whitehouse Volunteer Fire Department, to which Mr. Brossia still belonged. "He never got rattled. He didn't get excited. Whenever you needed him, he was there."
Fire and rescue workers in the other departments looked up to him, too.
"He was a leader and he knew his job," said Tom Hilton, a longtime friend and a former Waterville firefighter. "People respected him for that."
Mr. Brossia took regular refresher courses to learn about new drugs and new equipment.
"He was all about saving lives and taking care of people," his wife said.
Mr. Brossia worked a 24-hour shift followed by 48 hours off duty. During his career, he'd delivered babies and saved people having heart attacks. He tended to those injured in accidents at home or on the road.
Though he appeared laid back to his peers, during his shift, "he was always on pins and needles," his wife said.
"He said that 24 hours is an adrenaline rush the whole time. You'd just be sitting there waiting. Some days, you'd have runs, and some days not.
"It was all good as long as you saved lives," she said. "But if you had a major accident, he'd come home and say, 'It wasn't a good day,' and you could tell the job got him. There was nothing you could do for him. You just hoped for a new day that wasn't as bad as the last one and that [he] could save someone."
Mr. Brossia was a graduate of Perrysburg High School. He formerly worked for the Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad and the U.S. Postal Service. He received his paramedic training at what was then the Medical College of Ohio.
In retirement, he enjoyed spending time with grandchildren and relaxing on his deck. He liked Corvettes and had displayed his 1984 Corvette at car shows around Ohio. He refinished antique furniture.
He formerly was married to Arlene Brossia.
Surviving are his wife, Marianne, whom he married Sept. 24, 1982; sons, Jeff and Scott Brossia; daughters, Jodi Szydlowski and Danielle Brossia, and three grandchildren.
The body will be in the Peinert Mortuary, Whitehouse, after 2 p.m. today. Services will be at 10:30 a.m. tomorrow at the Whitehouse fire station.
The family suggests tributes to the Whitehouse Volunteer Fire Department or Josina Lott Residential & Community Services.