Gary L. Studer, 61, a Whitehouse fire captain and a full-time firefighter and paramedic with the Whitehouse department who for decades trained fire and rescue workers from across the state, died Saturday in St. Luke's Hospital from complications of a stroke suffered eight days earlier.
He worked at the Whitehouse fire station and was assigned to Life Squad 9.
About 1:30 a.m. June 20, the life squad was dispatched on a run. Mr. Studer's paramedic partner got up for the run and found him on the couch unresponsive, Whitehouse Fire Chief Daryl McNutt said.
"He'll be greatly missed," Chief McNutt said. "The whole area's going to miss him tremendously."
Mr. Studer's wife, Jeanette, said: "He saved a lot of lives through the years."
Mr. Studer was a 30-year member of the Whitehouse department. He retired in 1997 as a Toledo Edison supervisor after 28 years with the utility. Not long after, he began his full-time work as a firefighter and paramedic.
"He loved firefighting," Chief McNutt said. "He grew up in the village of Whitehouse, and he wanted always to help people."
Mr. Studer was chairman of the Lucas County Local Emergency Planning Committee.
For more than 30 years, he conducted training at the annual school for firefighters held at Bowling Green State University. He was a state fire inspector.
He taught at Owens Community College, Penta Career Center, and Four County Career Center.
"He was a good communicator," Chief McNutt said. "His approach was when you do training, it was always real. He didn't believe in using simulators. He was a hands-on, real person. He was very adamant about that.
"He always wanted people to grow in their experience. He was always trying to coax people to take classes, get more education," Chief McNutt said.
Mr. Studer took up scuba diving so he could teach area fire departments scuba rescue, his wife said.
He taught first aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation.
"He just couldn't sit still," his wife said. "He wanted to do everything, and he did."
"People from all over have been calling and saying, 'Gary taught me this, Gary taught me that.' He was a teacher, and he was a good one, too," she said.
He was a 1965 graduate of Whitehouse High School. He served stateside in the Army for two years and in the Army Reserve for another four years.
He wanted to be a firefighter and joined the Ohio Air National Guard's 180th Fighter Wing based at Toledo Express Airport because he knew that through the unit, he could receive a degree in fire science, his wife said.
"He moved himself right through the ranks to [fire] chief," his wife said.
He received an associate degree in fire science from Owens Community College. Most recently, he was doing graduate work online through the University of Cincinnati.
He retired from the Air National Guard in the early 1990s, after service in Operation Desert Storm.
Mr. Studer and his wife lived for a time in Swanton Township, during which he was zoning inspector and a member of the Neapolis Volunteer Fire Department.
Surviving are his wife, Jeanette, whom he married June 7, 1979; sister, Marlene Hollstein, and brother, Randy Studer.
The body will be in the Peinert Funeral Home, Whitehouse, after 7 tonight. Services will be at 10:30 a.m. Thursday at the Whitehouse Fire Department on Waterville Street, which is State Rt. 64. The family suggests tributes to Whitehouse Fire Co., American Legion Post 384 in Whitehouse, or a charity of the donor's choice.