GLEN ELLYN – Former Glen Ellyn Volunteer Fire Company Capt. James Pierce Jr. had a passion for firefighting.
"He just loved to fight fires," said Fire Chief Jim Bodony, who had worked alongside Pierce for 20 years. "He gave it his all."
Pierce died March 26 at the age of 77. He had worked for the fire company for almost 28 years – from 1960 to 1976, and then from 1980 to 1992.
A memorial gathering for Pierce will be from 4 to 8 p.m. April 1 at Leonard Memorial Home, 565 Duane St., Glen Ellyn. A funeral service will be at 10 a.m. April 2 at Leonard Memorial Home, with interment to follow at Forest Hill Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Glen Ellyn Volunteer Fire Company, the DuPage County Marine Corps League and the American Lung Association.
Pierce liked the challenges that came with being a firefighter, Bodony said.
"There's a lot of uncertainty in it, and I think that's what draws a lot of people to this profession," Bodony said. "It's a challenge, and it tests you physically and mentally to go into some place that's unknown. You really can't see when you go into a burning building. The smoke is down to the floor, and you have to go in there and find a fire or find a victim and bring them out and put the fire out."
Pierce retired from the fire company in 1992 as a captain. Bodony first joined the company in 1972.
"He was a quiet leader," Bodony said. "He was very dedicated to the guys that he supervised."
Pierce also worked for the Schaumburg Fire Department from 1971 to 1980, he said.
"He was very proud of both departments and also of his service to his country as a United States Marine," Bodony said. "He was especially proud of that."