Oct. 11, 1953 – Oct. 12, 2019
Brian L. Parkot stepped down last March after 33 years as a fire commissioner with the Snyder Fire District, but he still kept the emergency fire radio at his bedside.
“I always said he had two loves – me and the fire department,” his wife, Debra, said.
Mr. Parkot already was a volunteer firefighter, taking classes for an associate degree in fire protection technology at Erie Community College, when he met the former Debra Ryan in 1973, while she was working at Jimmy’s Restaurant at Harlem Road and Kensington Avenue. She became a nurse before they were married in 1978.
He had joined the Snyder Fire Department in its Torchboy program when he was still in high school. After he turned 18, he became a full-fledged volunteer.
He went on to serve as a lieutenant and captain before he was appointed a commissioner in 1986.
He died Saturday, the day after his 66th birthday, in his Snyder home after a lengthy illness.
Born in Buffalo, the youngest of three boys, he was a lifelong Snyder resident and graduated from Amherst High School in 1971.
Mr. Parkot had been a security guard in high school and found a job in security at the General Motors Powertrain plant in the Town of Tonawanda, where he had a 32-year career. He branched into health and safety programs at the plant and headed its volunteer fire brigade.
With the Snyder Fire Department, he was active with the fire prevention program and gave presentations at schools.
As commissioner, he helped oversee construction of the new fire headquarters on Main Street.
To his family’s consternation, he fought one blaze single-handedly in front of his house on the morning of his daughter Kelly’s wedding in 2008.
An arsonist who set a string of car fires overnight in his neighborhood ignited his nephew’s Jeep and Jet Ski. Mr. Parkot, in jeans and a T-shirt, responded with a garden hose.
On three occasions, he performed the Heimlich maneuver to save people who were choking. For this, he received a Lifesaving Award.
He was presented with the Snyder Fire Department’s President and Chiefs Award in April.
A longtime parishioner at Christ the King Catholic Church, he was a member of the Holy Name Society.
He was a former Connie Mack softball coach and volunteered in the Amherst town hockey program.
“He couldn’t skate,” his wife said, “but he would work the clocks and the doors and tie skates.”
Survivors also include a son, Brian E.; two daughters, Kelly Kacalski and Shannon Friend; two brothers, Sean and Paul; and four grandchildren.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 9:30 a.m. Thursday in Christ the King Church, 30 Lamarck Drive, Snyder.