Former Delaware Fire Chief Wilbur Bills died Saturday, Feb. 20, in Delaware.
Bills, 89, served as chief for 23 years, from 1957 to 1980 – the longest tenure of any Delaware fire chief. Bills had a total of 32 years of service with the department.
“It is with great sadness that the Delaware Fire Department announces his passing,” Chief John Donahue said. “There was not a day in his life that Chief Bills was not associated with our department.”
Bills was born Sept. 25, 1926, the son of a Delaware city firefighter and future Fire Chief Fred Bills. He entered service as a firefighter in 1948 and retired in 1980 after serving as chief.
During his career, Bills was known as a progressive thinker and innovator, overseeing many improvements in how fire service is provided to Delaware residents, city officials said. He emphasized fire safety for his crews, instituted paramedic-staffed ambulances, and the building of Fire Station 301, at 99 S. Liberty St., which bears his name.
He also served as president of the Ohio Fire Chiefs Association and was awarded the Distinguished Service Award for his service.
“Chief Bills remained active with our department even after his retirement and his presence will be sorely missed,” Donahue said.
Visitation is from 2 to 4 and 6 to 8 p.m. today at Robinson Funeral Home, 32 W. Winter St. A funeral mass is Wednesday at 10 a.m. at St. Mary Catholic Church, Delaware, with burial to follow at St. Mary Cemetery, 334 S. Sandusky St.