Funeral held for firefighter Walter Patmon Jr.

November 21, 2012 (CHICAGO)

Patmon Jr., 61, had a heart attack when he returned from a call to his South Side fire station.

His widow and children were greeted by a grateful fire department. And as the flag-draped casket arrived atop a fire engine, loved-ones' tears flowed into a sea of blue.

Patmon Jr. had come home.

"We will always see his smile, hear his laugh, share his stories, feel his strength, and never forget him because he will be in our hearts," said Windy Patmon, daughter.

Inside Apostolic Church of God, there were tributes to his sacrifice.

"He was The Super Guy, a man they all loved working with and a perfect example of someone who loved the job and the people he served," said Commissioner Jose Santiago, Chicago Fire Department.

"There's a lot of love in this room. And it's a testament to Walter's life," said Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

Patmon was an 18-year veteran, two years from retirement. He died from a heart attack November 11 after responding to a small kitchen fire.

"Time stopped for me because this is my guy. Time stopped," said Joe Anderson, friend.

Patmon joined the department relatively late in life at age 43.

Despite nearly a decade of being denied entry, Patmon kept working, kept improving and never gave up.

"He excelled in his training and kept up with all the youngsters step by step," said Tom Ryan, president, Chicago Firefighters Union Local 2.

The truck Patmon drove now bears his name. He always took his duty seriously but there was a softer side to the man friends nicknamed "Bubble."

Around the firehouse, his barbecue recipes were well-known.

"Think of a time that he made you smile, that he made you laugh, that you ate some of his good cooking," said Rev. Gregory Powell, New Faith Baptist Church.

After the casket was brought from the church, Patmon was given one last salute before the fire department he loved accompanied him on a final call.

Patmon is being laid to rest at Restvale Cemetery in Alsip. He's survived by a wife and three adult daughters and a city grateful for his service.

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