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October 15, 1940
February 4, 2014
Marty Richard, retired Fire Chief of Reno and 32-year veteran of the Reno Fire Department, passed away at home on February 4, 2014 after a long battle with cancer. He was 73.
Marty was born October 15, 1940 in Queens, New York to Jerry and Esther Richard, and lived there until the family moved to Miami Beach in 1951. He graduated from Miami Beach High School in 1958. He attended the University of Florida for a year before entering military service in the United States Air Force. Marty was stationed at Stead Air Force Base from 1959 to 1963. He worked in jet aircraft training in preparation for Vietnam.
While still in military service, he met and married Liz Little, a Reno native, on July 21, 1963, and began to build their family with their daughter Vicki in 1964, and sons Dean, 1966, and Brent in 1968.
Shortly after leaving the Air Force, Marty joined the Reno Fire Department as a firefighter, and was active in Local 731, serving for a time as its president.
In 1973, Marty transitioned to the Fire Prevention Bureau as a Fire Inspector. After five years as a Fire Inspector and Senior Inspector, Marty rose to the top position as Fire Marshal in 1978. With the 1980 MGM fire in Las Vegas, Marty oversaw a watershed change in buildings and commercial properties' fire codes that became a new standard for the state of Nevada and eventually for cities throughout the United States.
Marty also began consulting with other cities and states to overhaul their fire codes and eventually this led to national changes in fire prevention. He was a member of the International Fire Marshals Association and served as their president from 1986 to 1987.
After more than 25 years serving the Reno Fire Department, Marty was tapped to lead the entire department in 1990 and was appointed Reno Fire Chief.
During his tenure as Fire Chief, Marty began the early stages of consolidation of the Reno and Washoe County Fire Departments, overseeing an expanded mutual aid response program between Reno, Sparks and Washoe County. In addition to the Fire Marshal's Association, Marty was a member of the Nevada Fire Chief's Association, the International Association of Fire Chiefs, The National Fire Protection Association and was appointed to the Nevada Emergency Response Commission by Governor Bob Miller. He served with distinction until 1996, when he retired after 32 years with the Reno Fire Department. On February 1, 2014, Chief Mike Hernandez awarded Marty the Reno Fire Department's highest distinction, the Medal of Honor.
In addition to his career, Marty was very active in community activities and his kids' activities. Whether he was cheering at football games, wrestling matches or clapping at musical programs, he supported and cheered for his three children, and later in life, his grandchildren
Marty was an avid racquetball player and motorcycle enthusiast. He also loved to fish and could be seen later in life on the shores of Pyramid Lake. And, he enjoyed participating in the Journal Jog, where he ran with the fire department several times and then participated with friends and family. His last journal jog was in 2009, where he participated with his two boys and his grandchildren.
After retiring, Marty continued to serve his community through his many associations and passions. As a member of the Kerak Shrine, he devoted his time to raising funds for the Shrine Hospitals. He was also an active member of the Reno Rodeo Association for many years and member and past president of the Nevada White Hats. He cherished his time in June during the Rodeo, and he enjoyed participating in the cattle drives and manning the chutes for the bulls and broncs. He was active in Reno Kennel Club and Reno 4-Wheelers during the 1970s, serving as president of each. Marty became a Freemason in 1973, followed by membership in Scottish Rites and Kerak Shrine Arabian Band, Jesters, and Caravaners. As an Arabian, he was Sultan of his unit, as well as serving as president of the Western Association of Shrine Oriental Bands.
His love of horses resulted in building his small 7-acre ranch just off of Huffaker Lane, enjoying the "country life" for the past 25 years, surrounded by his family, and complete with horses, chickens, dogs, cats and a donkey. He loved teaching his grandchildren to ride horses and drive tractors on the "family ranch." Before he passed, Marty was able to celebrate his 50th wedding anniversary with his wife Liz this past July.
Preceding Marty in death were his mother and father, Esther and Jerry Richard, and his brother Eddie. Surviving Marty are his wife Liz Richard, his sister Ina Richard, his children and their spouses Vicki and Mark Nichter, Dean and Patricia Richard (and grandchildren Matthew and AJ), and Brent and Laurie Richard (and grandchildren Jeffrey and Noah). Also surviving are his 6 brothers- and sisters-in-law, 20 nieces and nephews, and 32 great-nieces and nephews.
A memorial service to celebrate the life of Marty Richard will be held at 11:30am on Sunday, February 9, 2014, at the Kerak Shrine Temple (4935 Energy Way, Reno). In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to Shriner's Hospitals for Children.
Published in Reno Gazette-Journal from Feb. 7 to Feb. 9, 2014
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