The Newark Valley Fire Department, and firefighters from all across Tioga County, honored and remembered volunteer fireman and life member, Dennis F. Liebe, at a full fireman’s funeral on April 7. Liebe passed away on April 3 at the age of 76.
Liebe, known to many, especially thousands of school-aged children in the Newark Valley and Berkshire areas as “Firefighter Denny,” was a beloved member of the Newark Valley Fire Department for 36 years as well as served in the Berkshire Fire Department for 15 years.
For 51 combined years, Liebe had devoted a majority of his life to community service.
A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated at Most Holy Rosary Church located on Route 26 in Maine, N.Y. A procession led by a police escort and Newark Valley Fire Department vehicles met multiple emergency vehicles from all over Tioga County at the intersection of Routes 38 and 38B.
The procession drove under a United States Flag hung and displayed between two ladder trucks out of Weltonville and Campville and then continued through Newark Valley and Berkshire, with a final stop at Evergreen Cemetery in Berkshire where Liebe was laid to rest. A bagpipe player, Rich Maloney of the Edward P. Maloney Pipe Band, performed at the ceremony.
Liebe, retired from General Electric/BAE after 46 years of service, and where during his tenure was a Fire Security Marshall. Liebe also served as Code Enforcement Officer and Fire Marshall in Newark Valley and Berkshire.
“Firefighter Denny” delivered fire prevention instruction to thousands of school children through the years, as well as community members, businesses and senior citizens groups, along with many more noteworthy contributions.
Newark Valley Fire Chief John Haney said of Liebe, “He was an extremely active fireman and a huge blessing to the department,” adding, “We have lost one of our main people here.”
In a January story in this publication, Haney made mention that a significant concern within his department is the “aging out” of volunteers. Now, with the loss of Liebe, it again brings the issue to the forefront.
Haney explained that Liebe consistently went above-and-beyond with everything he did, and would often be found, even at 76, driving truck and pulling hose. Last year, Liebe responded to 70 percent of the Newark Valley emergency calls, and the most of anyone in the department.
Haney, who has served in the department for 20 years and has been fire chief for three, also described Liebe as a role model who inspired others, and who carried with him a wealth of experience and knowledge.
Haney commented, “We won’t be able to replace his knowledge.”
And, as for Firefighter Denny educating area youth, Haney remarked, “There was nothing more that Denny enjoyed doing.”
Haney also remarked that Liebe sacrificed a great deal of his personal time over the course of 51 years, and which also plays into the sacrifice made by his wife and children.
Liebe will also be remembered as one of the founders of the Northern Tioga Boys Baseball League, and where he also served as a coach for hundreds upon hundreds of local youth, including his own children.
As Liebe’s obituary stated, “Denny never seemed to tire of serving his community.”
The family has asked that memorial contributions be directed to the Newark Valley Fire Department, P.O. Box 265, Newark Valley, N.Y. 13811, or to the Mercy House in Endicott, N.Y., in loving memory of Dennis F. Liebe.