Seventy-seven years, that's how long Lou Pasquarell, Sr. served on the Jonesville Volunteer Fire Department, manning his post right up until his death last weekend. Our Matt Hunter caught up with several of his longtime colleagues shortly after he was laid to rest.
JONESVILLE, N.Y. –- To many, Bob Leonard's 40 year tenure at the Jonesville Volunteer Fire Department might sound like the stuff of legend, but compared to his old friend Lou Pasquarell, Sr., he barely has one foot in the door.
"That's no time at all, I'm just a boot, I'm just a new guy in relation to that,” Leonard joked Friday. “He had tremendous longevity."
Pasquarell's legendary 77 years of service came to a close last Saturday when the 98-year-old World War II Vet passed away. On Friday, hundreds gathered at Corpus Christi Church in Round Lake to pay their final respects.
"He was a tremendous role model, great guy, a good friend and a dedicated firefighter,” Leonard said following the service. “That's what it's all about."
"It's a once in a lifetime type thing you'll see, especially in the fire service with all of the hazards and how busy we are," said Patrick Champagne, the Department’s Chief and Pasquarell’s step-grandson.
As loved ones looked back on the life of an icon, few could overlook his sense of humor; something Judy Bayer once fell victim to at a company picnic game of Bocce when Pasquarell swapped her original ball with much heavier gag ball.
"When I picked it up, I couldn't lift it,” Bayer laughingly remembered. “It was so heavy I thought I was having a stroke or something. Apparently I wasn't the first he played it [prank] on, nor was I the last."
Pasquarell's legacy includes a son, Lou, Jr. who served as chief and a step-grandson who runs the department now.
Before his remains were laid to rest, they were driven by his old station one final time.
"He was a wonderful person and a great role model and we will miss him,” Bayer said.
"We shared a lot of laughs and I'll definitely miss that," Champagne said.
"He certainly is an inspiration to everybody that's here," Leonard said.