Deputy Chief Jeffrey V. Powers died in the line of duty June 26, 2008 at Southern Marin Fire District in Sausalito, CA. Chief Powers started his fire service career as a volunteer at Alto-Richardson Bay Fire in the 1980’s. He then became an apprentice firefighter for Corte Madera Fire and was hired full time by Mill Valley Fire Department in 1988. In 1994, he transferred to Tamalpais Fire which evolved into today’s Southern Marin Fire Protection District. Always known as a respected colleague and an enormously active citizen, his warm presence will be truly missed.
Nearly 1,000 mourners spilled out of St. Isabella's church in San Rafael during a funeral Mass June 30,2008 for Chief Powers.
A San Rafael resident, Powers collapsed Thursday at SMFD's Sausalito station 2 while talking to fellow Local 1775 members and colleagues. SMFD Paramedics in the ambulance bound for Marin General Hospital worked furiously to save the 23-year veteran, who was pronounced dead in the emergency room.
Before the service, a massive contingent of fire vehicles paid tribute with a procession through Terra Linda. Engines came from as far away as Sacramento, South San Francisco and Hayward.
Described as professional, enthusiastic, a pleasure to work with and an exceptional person, Powers was a well-known family man and sports enthusiast who coached his sons' teams.
Former chief Mike Stone, who delivered the eulogy on behalf of Chief Denis Walsh, spoke of the movie buff who loved football, baseball, basketball and the 49ers, but certainly not the Raiders.
"Jeff had an infectious personality," Stone said. "Even if he just met you one time, the next time he saw you he made you feel like he knew you forever.
"He would want us to find the strength to move forward," he said.
Many were reduced to tears as Powers' oldest child, Matthew, read a letter to his father.
In the church vestibule, dozens of firefighters dressed in formal uniform stood amid pictures of Powers with his family - attending parties, coaching Little League, posing with an Oakland A's jersey.
Southern Marin fire Chaplain Doug Huneke, pastor at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Tiburon, said Powers wouldn't want people to cry.
"Jeff would probably have little tolerance for such somberness," he said. "He would tell us É live your lives out loud and proud."
Powers, a Mill Valley native, began his career with the Tamalpais Fire Protection District, which went on to merge with the Alto-Richardson Fire Protection District in 1999 to form the Southern Marin Fire Protection District.
While with Southern Marin, he rose through the ranks, serving as a captain and a battalion chief before being named deputy chief in April 2007. He earned 16 letters of commendation during his tenure.
Donations in Jeff Powers' memory may be made to a trust for his sons, Matthew and Anthony Powers, c/o Westamerica Bank, 64 W. Blithedale Ave., Mill Valley 94941