Traffic stood still Thursday as fire officials hoisted a large flag off Indian Springs Street in honor of former Harrison County fire marshal, Dennis Engdahl, as family, friends and community members poured into Cumberland Presbyterian Church to celebrate his life at his funeral service.
The “beautiful service included all the fitting and powerful traditions to honor a firefighter, including the Ringing of the Bell and Last Call,” shared attendee Christina Anderson, whose husband former County Judge and former State Senator, Richard Anderson, spoke on the program, sharing special memories.
Engdahl — who served as county fire marshal for 20 years, starting Aug. 21, 1989, to his retirement on Nov. 30, 2009 — died Saturday, July 27, at age 75.
Besides the befitting memorial service, the funeral procession was also touching as it departed from Meadowbrook Funeral home with the honor guard, command trucks, Patriot Riders and family to Cumberland.
Other participants on the funeral program were: current county fire marshal Thomas Mock, leading the “Ringing of the Bell”; Assistant Chief Danny Butler and Renee Nelson with the “Last Call”; Patriot Guard Ride Captain Bill Parrish; Capt. Tony Davis and Commander Jeff Hartsell with flag presentations; Chaplain Willie J. McDonald with the message and closing prayer; Rev. Rusty Rustenhaven with the prayer and opening remarks; and John Oswalt with remarks on behalf of the family.
Songs included “Daddy’s Hands,” “That’s My Job” and “Go Rest High.” The Harrison County Firefighters Association Honor Guard posted the colors.
During his tenure as Harrison County’s fire marshal, Engdahl helped the administration secure about $400,000 in grant money for the creation of area volunteer fire departments, including the establishment of Hallsville and Waskom VFDs in the 1980s, Anderson recalled on Saturday after Engdahl’s passing.
“He was a friend to everyone he met, and was a source of strength for all who knew him,” the Harrison County Fire Marshal’s Office wrote Saturday on its Facebook page. “Dennis will always be in our hearts and memories.”
Following his retirement, Engdahl served as longtime mayor pro tem of the city of Scottsville and managed its water system.
Prior to his passing, Engdahl was serving as the Commander of the American Legion Post 14 in Shreveport, Louisiana. The post held a military service on Friday in tribute to Engdahl.
Noting his contributions in both the East Texas and northwest Louisiana region, the Post described him on their Facebook page as “a giant in our community and will be sorely missed.”
“His loss will be felt very deeply in both communities but particularly the veterans community where his impacts constantly bore results,” the Post wrote.
In addition to his service as fire marshal, Engdahl previously held certifications as a police officer, firefighter, arson investigator and fire safety instructor.
He also was affiliated with numerous fire and arson associations and organizations and was a past chairman for the Harrison County Emergency Planning Committee, the post noted.