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REMEMBERING NAEGELE: ‘He was the epitome of a fire chief’

For decades he was respectfully called “Chief” and “GV1.”

Longtime members of the Geneva Fire Department said there will never be another like him.

“He was one in a million. He was the epitome of a fire chief,” said Jimmer McCormack of Carlton “Carl” Naegele, who died last weekend at 94. “He didn’t demand respect, but he commanded respect.”

Naegele, who joined the GFD’s Nester Hose Company in 1945 after serving in World War II, was appointed chief in 1958 and retired in 1986, when he was immediately given the title fire chief emeritus. The only GFD chief with a longer tenure was his predecessor, Louis McGuigan, who served from 1924-58.

“Guys did what Carl asked them because they didn’t want to disappoint him. He just had that presence,” said McCormack, an assistant GFD chief and member of the C.J. Folger Hook & Ladder Company. “When he was at a fire scene you knew he was in charge, but I never saw him angry. I would see him frustrated at times, but he was not a guy who would yell or holler. He was like World War II veterans of his time.”

Assistant Chief Kevin Powers, who joined the Nester Hose Company in 1954, knew Naegele for 65 years.

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