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Vergennes mourns loss of fire chief

VERGENNES - A man of endurance and eloquent character, Ralph J. Jackman, 85, passed away peacefully Saturday, Jan. 2, 2010, at his home surrounded by his loving family.

Jackman was born on July 4, 1924, a twin son born to Glenn and Ila (Sweet) Jackman in Bristol, Vt. He attended Saint Michael's College until he was called to serve his country in the European Theater where he fought in the Battle of the Bulge. After returning home he continued to serve in the Army Reserves from 1946-1972. In 1946 he partnered with his brother, Charles, to begin their successful careers operating Jackman Fuels, Inc.

Jackman retired from the fuel business in 1989. Ralph married his high school sweetheart Myrle (Jacobs) Jackman on July 29, 1946. He is survived by his wife, Myrle; his five daughters: Lynn (Michael) Jackson-Donnelly, Catherine Desjadon, Christine (P. Michael) Collette, Susan (Gregory) Burdick, Carleen (William) Telgen and his daughter by heart, Deborah Senesac; twelve grandchildren, three step-grandchildren and

twelve great grandchildren. He is also survived by two sisters-in law, Elaine Bordeaux, Carol Burbank and brother in law, Burton Jacobs as well as several nieces and nephews. In addition, he leaves his extended family, the sons and daughters of the Vergennes Fire Department. He was predeceased by an infant son, Mark Stewart and a son-in-law, Ronald Desjadon; as well as his twin brother, Fred, his brothers, Charles, Francis and Glenn, Jr. He joined the Vergennes Fire Department in 1947, became Chief in 1954 and served as Chief until Nov., 2009.

Jackman's proudest accomplishments include building a new fire station, the department being the first in the State to have a hose reel truck, use of a four inch hose and establishing a cadet program. The department took a major step forward with the purchase of two new trucks in 1994 and three new trucks to the department this past year. To his merit, he has three career firefighter grandsons and five grandsons serving in volunteer departments.

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