GENEVA-Ralph E. DeBolt, 69, of Geneva passed away on Sunday (March 10, 2019) at the House of John in Clifton Springs.
Following Ralph's wishes, there will be no prior calling hours. Private funeral services and burial in Brookside Cemetery will be held at the convenience of the family.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Wilmot Cancer Center, Golisano Children's Hospital, Geneva Firematics or Thrive to Survive.
Ralph was born on Sept. 26, 1949, in Penn Yan the son of the late Kenneth and Mary Tobin DeBolt. He was active in the Seneca County 4H, serving as the president of the group's equestrian club for a number of years. He earned national recognition when he was presented with the I Dare You Award by the American Youth Foundation.
Ralph graduated from DeSales High School in 1967. He completed a carpenter's apprenticeship and worked several jobs-including as a carpenter for the family business, DeBolt Construction-before finding his life's work as a public servant.
Ralph committed most of his adult life to the fire service. He was a life member of the C.J. Folger Hook & Ladder Company, joining the Geneva Fire Department in 1969. As a volunteer firefighter, he served as lieutenant, captain, vice president, and president of the Hook & Ladder. He was active in the company's committee structure, most notably chairing the committee that produced the Hooks' 100th anniversary book in 1986.
In 1973, Ralph was appointed to Geneva's career firefighting staff, and in 1982, he was promoted to training officer. In 1986, Ralph was named acting fire chief and rose to chief of the department a year later. As chief, he ushered in a wide-range of improvements to the city's emergency services, including building a new fire house, purchasing more advanced apparatus and firefighting equipment, and bringing enhanced 9-1-1 service to Geneva.
Ralph completed a wide range of courses at the New York State Academy of Fire Sciences and the National Fire Academy and shared his knowledge as a New York State Fire Instructor and as an adjunct instructor at the State Fire Academy.
Ralph's commitment to the fire service extended far beyond Geneva. He served Ontario County as a volunteer deputy fire coordinator and was active in the Ontario County Fire Chiefs' Association, the New York State Association of Fire Chiefs, the Career Fire Chiefs of New York State and the International Association of Arson Investigators.
Ralph retired as chief of the Geneva Fire Department in 2005. In retirement, he enjoyed playing golf, watching his grandchildren compete in youth sports and completing home improvement projects for his children.
Ralph is survived by his daughter, Michelle (Andy Wayne) DeBolt of Geneva; his son, Kenneth (Janine) DeBolt of Geneva; grandchildren Emily and Joseph DeBolt; sister, Janice (Edward) McGuigan of Geneva; brother, Gary (Gwen) DeBolt of Fort Ann; sister-in-law, Janet DeBolt of Waterloo; and several nieces and nephews.
Ralph was predeceased by his parents Kenneth and Mary; brother, Carl DeBolt; sister and brother-in-law Joyce and John Nolan.
For tributes and condolences to the family, please visit; www.mcguiganberofuneralhome.com
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Published by Finger Lakes Times on Mar. 13, 2019.