Friends and family recalled Mark Marentette’s sense of humor, his love of the brotherhood and sisterhood of firefighters, and most of all, his love for family during a celebration of the former Canandaigua fire chief’s life.
Although his children were living in Michigan, his ex wife, Anne Hamming, recalled how rare it was for Katie and Lee to not get a phone call in the evening, for talks about politics, history, classic rock, and life.
“He was there for the kids,” said Hamming, who was among the speakers at the ceremony Saturday at St. John’s Episcopal Church, adding he stood for his son, his daughter, and his fire service comrades.
A bagpiper greeted the guests who attended the service.
A photo of Marentette in dress fire uniform, his white Canandaigua fire chief hat, and a copy of “Canandaigua Fire Department: 200 Years of Service,” the book he helped put together to mark the department’s anniversary in 2016, were prominently displayed.
A large artwork created by former Canandaigua firefighter Don Ford, the primary author of the anniversary book, included a brief description: “The People’s Chief.”
Marentette, 56, was a fire chief in Michigan and Ohio before coming to Canandaigua.
Bob Palumbo, a member of City Council now, was a volunteer with the department when Marentette appointed him safety officer shortly after his arrival, and he recalled how his number-one concern was safety.
That went for firefighters and for community.
“His dedication to the fire service was second to none,” Palumbo said. “He loved it. He loved this place and he loved the history of it.”
There was a reason; one of his favorite subjects in school growing up was history, Hamming said. Fire service would become another later in his life.