North Whidbey Fire and Rescue’s recently hired fire chief died from pancreatic cancer Sept. 17.
Tim Lemon joined the district in August after serving as chief of Chelan Fire and Rescue for 10 years.
He’d been in the fire service industry for approximately 40 years.
“He was easygoing,” Fire Commis-sioner TJ Lamont said of the decision to hire Lemon, adding that Lemon’s diagnosis came shortly after he was hired.
“He had great solutions. He worked well with the board. It just seemed like the perfect answer for everything we were going through.”
Lemon was popular among the firefighters and members of the community that participated in the interviewing process, Lamont said.
In each group that met with the future chief, approximately 85 percent rated him as their top choice.
He began his long career in fire service as a volunteer firefighter in Pierce County.
In 2001, Lemon became the youngest fire chief in Washington state after taking the position at Maple Valley Fire and Life Safety.
He moved in 2009 to Chelan, and during his time there, he increased volunteer membership by more than 70 percent, Lemon said in an interview over the summer.
He took the helm at North Whidbey Fire Aug. 12, replacing former chief Mark Kirko.
Lemon joined his wife Cathy Lemon who had moved to the Oak Harbor area in November to care for her mother.
At the time, Lemon said he was looking forward to living on the “wet side” of the state after spending a decade fighting wildland fires in Eastern Washington.
“I really enjoyed the time I had with him,” Lamont said.
“He was a great guy to work with.”
He said the board will soon open another nationwide search for a new chief.