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Albert A., passed away on May 14, 2013, in Tacoma, Washington. Al passed while in the line of duty serving in his capacity as a Tacoma firefighter. Al hailed from Hawthorne, New Jersey, and had been a resident of Marrowstone Island, Washington for 20 years. He was a 1971 graduate of Hawthorne High School and a 1975 graduate of Montclair State University.
One of Al's close friends said of Al, "He's a brother
You don't meet people like that, maybe once in your life." To those who knew and loved Al, he was often described as among the most interesting people they'd ever met; indeed, one of Al's friends posted that he was the"most interesting man in the world" - a characterization that only seemed fitting to those who had the pleasure of Al's company, companionship and unpretentious yet contagious spirit, fun loving nature and thirst for life.
Al was so many things to so many people - a son to Albert (deceased) and Mary; a brother to Gail, Greg and Brian; a brother-in-law to Brian, Michele and Laurie; an uncle to Leia, Lauren, Greg, Kate, Mary, Emily and Albert; a godfather; a nephew; a cousin; a friend to all he met along his fascinating journeys throughout the world; a best friend to more still; a proud Tacoma firefighter.
Al possessed a quiet confidence and was gifted as a natural leader, and people loved his sense of humor, his stories, his unbridled enthusiasm for life. Al was an accomplished athlete - a wrestler and football player while at Hawthorne High School, and one distinguished as a Bergen Record "All Century Football Player" in 2000 for his role on Hawthorne's undefeated 1970 gridiron team. He was a staunch environmentalist, a principled conservationist, a philanthropist, a community volunteer, a gifted singer/songwriter, a poet and author, a sailor, a cyclist, a teacher, a builder (his hand built home on Marrowstone Island is a thing of true beauty), a lifelong New York Jets fan, a mountain climber, a world traveler, a consummate adventurer. He traveled to places far and wide, and the beauty for Al was in the journey. Al visited five of the world's seven continents and would have experienced the other two had God not called him away too soon. Al had his maritime captain's license, a requirement in his role as the captain of the Hudson River sloop "Clearwater"; he served many years on "Pride of Baltimore" and "Adventuress", the position that led Al to the Pacific Northwest.
At the age of 47, Al became among the oldest firefighters ever to join the highly regarded Tacoma Fire Department, where he served on Ladder 2, Station 8. His mountain climbing skills and nautical expertise together with his strong intellect and good judgment qualified Al as a member of the Department's Technical Rescue Team. Al had an unwavering spirit and loving soul, a compassion for his fellow man, and was tireless in his effort to lend a hand to his friends, his family and those less fortunate. Indeed, he died as he lived, a hero trying to rescue another who was in need. Al was a man among men.
The Nejmeh family would like to publicly thank the members of the Tacoma Fire Department, Ladder Company 2, Station 8 for their kindness and thoughtfulness during this most difficult time. Al loved his work, loved his fellow firefighters, and we appreciate why by your actions in the wake of Al's untimely passing. We also want to thank all those at St. Joseph Medical Center who worked so valiantly to save Al in his time of need, and to the greater Tacoma/Seattle community for your outpouring of love and
Published in The Record from May 18 to May 19, 2013