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Published: Tuesday, 8/28/2007

Car racing big interest of Lyons' fire chief

LYONS, Ohio - Art Call, chief of the Lyons-Royalton Fire Department, died Sunday of apparent natural causes at his home. He was 69.

Mr. Call was with the department 37 years and was its chief since 1995. He was planning to retire this year, his daughter, Shelby Derby, said.

Mrs. Derby said her father's biggest interests were the fire department and car racing.

"Between racing and the fire department, that has been his entire life. He thought everyone should be a racer," she said.

Mr. Call graduated from Morenci (Mich.) High School in 1955 and moved to Ohio in the mid-1960s. He worked 33 years at American Chain and Cable in Adrian and retired when he was 50, according to his son, Grayling Call.

Mr. Call ran his own auto mechanic shop for a time and worked for Sadler & Associates, determining the causes of fires, Grayling Call said. Recently, he worked part time sharpening tooling for his son Aaron Call's tool-and-die business in Lyons.

Mr. Call built and drove dirt sprint race cars until about 1985, when his sons, Grayling and Aaron, took over the driving. He continued to closely follow the sport and accompanied Grayling, a technical inspector for NASCAR, to races.

"My Dad built his first race car when I was about 3 years old," Grayling Call said. Mr. Call remained an active part owner of the family business, Call Motor Sports, until his death, son Aaron said.

Shelby Call said her father was "very fair, very honest," and always willing to help.

Mary Vroman, mayor of Lyons, agreed.

"He was very good. He was very well-liked, always had a smile on his face, and if you needed help, he always went out of his way to help you," Mrs. Vroman said.

He was a first-aid captain and assistant chief for 12 years before becoming chief. Mr. Call was an emergency medical technician and longtime member of the Lyons water board.

Among the emergencies Mr. Call responded to was an insulation fire in the Lyons firehouse's attic in February, a first in his career, the chief told a reporter. He and the department also helped put down the blaze that devastated downtown Wauseon April 14.

Surviving are daughter, Shelby Derby; sons, Grayling and Aaron; twin sister, Arlene Cutler; nine grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren.

Services will be at 11 a.m. Thursday in the Eagle Funeral Home-Charles Fink Chapel, Morenci, where visitation will be after 11 a.m. tomorrow. A firefighter walk-through honoring Mr. Call will start at

7 p.m. tomorrow.

The family suggests tributes to the Lyons-Royalton Fire Department.



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