In Memory of Lee W. Ireland

Posted on: 26 June 2013

The faculty and staff of the University of Missouri Fire and Rescue Training Institute (MU FRTI) were saddened to learn of the passing of Regional Training Coordinator Lee Ireland. Lee passed away suddenly on June 26, 2013. We wish to express our sincerest condolences to Lee’s family, the governmental and fire service agencies he served with, and his many friends, colleagues, and former students.

Lee was born in Neosho, MO, on February 26, 1951. He is a 1972 graduate of Missouri Southern State College with a BS in Education and Biology. He received his Masters’ degree in Counseling/Psychology from Pittsburg State University in Kansas in 1981 and earned an Applied Associates degree in Fire Science from Crowder College in 1988. 

Lee taught in the public school system for seventeen years. He was an adjunct instructor at Crowder College from 1975 – 2000 teaching psychology, fire science, and emergency medical technician programs. He worked full time for the Neosho Housing Authority from 1985 to his death; and has served as their Executive Director since 1993. Lee also worked for the Newton County Coroner’s Office as Chief Deputy Coroner/Investigator for the past seventeen years.

Lee began his fire service avocation in 1969 with the Neosho Fire Department as a volunteer firefighter, Driver, and Captain. He has been a member of the Neosho Area Fire Protection District Board of Directors since 1994. He served with the Redings Mill Fire Department as a training officer from 2002 – 2005. He also served on the Newton County Ambulance Board of Directors from 1998 – 2002. Lee was a state certified Fire Instructor III and a Certification Evaluator by the Missouri Division of Fire Safety.

Lee became an Adjunct Instructor with the University of Missouri Fire and Rescue Training Institute in 1985. In 1992, he was appointed as one of MU FRTI’s Regional Training Coordinators serving State Highway Patrol Region D (Southwest Missouri); a position he retained until his death. Over the years Lee had a consistent presence at MU FRTI Fire Schools. He served on the Command Team for both Winter and Summer Fire Schools.

Throughout Lee Ireland’s life, he had a passion for and dedication to the fire service. He actively participated in learning the skills of firefighting as a student and then willingly shared his knowledge teaching other firefighters. He understood the importance of firefighter training and worked diligently as a Regional Training Coordinator to assure access and training opportunities for fire and emergency responders within his region. I most recently spoke with Lee this past weekend at a MU FRTI Regional Coordinators meeting in Columbia. He and I talked about his many activities and how it kept him extremely busy, but throughout the conversation it was evident that he truly enjoyed serving his community and the fire service.

He touched many lives through his multiple roles in public service, and especially within the fire service. Those who learned the profession of firefighting from him, were mentored and helped by him, served beside him, and who worked with him at MU FRTI, will all cherish memories of him. Lee was a dedicated Fire Service Professional that contributed much on behalf of many.

At each firefighter’s passing whether in the Line of Duty or at the end of their lifespan, it is only fitting that we pay tribute for their service and dedication to protecting others. Lee’s career and volunteer time in public service demonstrated his desire to serve others.  In recognition of this service, we offer the traditional fire service homage: God’s Speed Regional Training Coordinator Ireland – well done thy true and faithful servant!

On Behalf of the MU FRTI Faculty and Staff,

David Hedrick
Director
Fire and Rescue Training Institute
University of Missouri Extension