Florida Fallen Firefighter Memorial
Honoring Tallahassee Firefighter from 1930
October 08, 2012
On Friday, October 12, 2012, the Florida Fallen Firefighter Memorial, located at the State Fire College in Ocala, Florida, will honor Lewin R. Spear, a Tallahassee firefighter who died in the line of duty on Sunday, November 30, 1930 in a warehouse fire in Tallahassee.
The Tallahassee Fire Department recently re-discovered the details of Mr. Spear's passing while doing research in newspaper articles, City of Tallahassee documents and Fire Station log books. The information was then sent to the Florida State Fallen Firefighter Memorial for review and eventual approval. John Harrell, Great Grand-Nephew of Lewin Spear, plans to travel from Lorton, VA to attend the memorial service. Mr. Harrell will be presented with a memorial flag and medal from the Fallen Firefighter Memorial which he plans to donate for display to the Tallahassee Fire Department. "Tallahassee was Lewin Spear's home and I imagine he took great pride in being a firefighter with the Tallahassee Fire Department. He made the ultimate sacrifice for his friends, neighbors and community. He would be honored knowing that the Tallahassee Fire Department and City of Tallahassee would make the effort to remember his sacrifice. I feel it's appropriate to keep the flag and medal in Tallahassee because it's what Lewin Spear would have wanted", said John Harrell. "Our future depends on those that have come before us and it is our honor to pay tribute to our fallen brother", said City of Tallahassee Fire Chief Cindy Dick.
Members of the Tallahassee Fire Department will also be in attendance at the memorial service in Ocala, Florida. Special thanks goes out to Retired Senior Plans Examiner Maurice Majszak for his hard work seeing that Mr. Spear will always be remembered for his sacrifice, as well as the Tallahassee Genealogy Society for their work in locating Lewin's family.
Background on Lewin Spear:
He was born on July 8, 1887 in Millington, Kent County, MD, the eldest child of Edwin Wallace and Lucy Hurtt Spear. He served with Company D, 5th US Calvary from August 1908 to August 1914 and was discharged as a Sergeant. Lewin rode the train to Tallahassee and worked as a gardener and handyman for Minnie and Janie Clark, whose father was a prominent Jeweler in Tallahassee. Lewin married Minnie Clark but the two sisters often referred to Lewin as "Our Husband." Lewin and Minnie did not have any children. Lewin R. Spear served, at one time, as a City of Tallahassee Councilman.
When the Tallahassee Volunteer Fire Company was disbanded on April 30, 1930, Lewin was one of the original 6 reserve firefighters chosen on May 1, 1930 to be a member of the "Tallahassee Fire Department". There were six full-time paid firefighters and six reserves that were paid only when they drilled or responded to a fire. On Sunday, November 30, 1930, Lewin responded to a warehouse fire by the railroad depot where he sustained significant burn injuries which resulted in his passing at age 44. He was so highly respected in the community that City Offices and businesses were closed so everyone could attend his funeral.
Photo of Lewin Spear
Florida Fallen Firefighter Memorial Website
Tallahassee Genealogical Society
Lt. Mike Bellamy, Public Information Officer, 891-6608