Someone To Brag About
Joseph Marchbanks Jr. was a Battalion Chief in a Harlem firehouse, but he preferred to be called a firefighter. A 22-year veteran, Chief Marchbanks garnered four promotions by the time he died at age 47, but "he wasn't one to brag," said his wife, Teresa.
Still, Chief Marchbanks had a lot to brag about.
A Bronx native, he qualified for the police force and the fire department in the same week, chose the latter, never looked back.
"He loved his job," said his friend (and stickball teammate) Frank McDonagh.
Chief Marchbanks was justifiably proud of his daughter Lauren's softball team, which he helped coach to a championship in Nanuet, N.Y., where the former city boy lived with his wife and children, Lauren, 14, and Ryan, 8).
At the firehouse, he organized study groups to help others pass tests for promotions. "He taught without you realizing you were learning," said his friend and colleague, Lieutenant Kevin Guy.
Now Lieutenant Guy would like to do the bragging for him, more than willing to relate more stories about his friend.
"Anything for Joe, anything," he said.
Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on December 10, 2001.