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Edward F. Hetzel, 92, retired fire captain
Oct. 31, 1914 -- Dec. 31, 2006

A private Mass of Christian Burial was offered for Edward F. Hetzel of West Seneca, a retired Buffalo Fire Department captain and one of the department's oldest retirees.

He died Sunday in the Center for Hospice & Palliative Care, Cheektowaga. He was 92.

Born in Buffalo, he graduated from School 3 with honors and completed Hutchinson-Central High School with honors in 1934 after leaving school twice, once for health reasons and once to support his family.

The last man surviving from the 30-member Buffalo Fire Department Drill Class of 1941, Mr. Hetzel put his fire career aside during World War II, enlisting in the Army in 1943. Serving as a surgical technician in the Medical Corps stateside, he rose to the rank of sergeant.

Returning home, he served with Ladder 5 at Seneca and Swan streets, Engine 19 on Forest Avenue and for many years with Engine 15 at Amherst and East streets. He was captain of Engine 34 at Main and Mercer streets when he retired in 1975.

Mr. Hetzel was a longtime member of Local 282, International Association of Fire Fighters, and attended meetings until early 2005. He also was one of seven plank (charter) members of Francis J. Donovan Post 1676, American Legion, in Cheektowaga.

A carpenter, he built a year-round vacation home for his family in Varysburg. In retirement, he traveled the country, spending winters in Florida and summers in Varysburg.

His wife of 59 years, Marie H. Ziegler Hetzel, died in 2005.

Surviving are a son, Robert E., and three daughters, Donna M. Guy, Patricia A. Bertone and Jane Dawn.


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