Farewell cousin Fred


January 23, 2017 by auntkatefirmin

Farewell to my cousin, who I called Fred Firmin, known to most as Al Firmin – apparently Alfred John Firmin switched from “Fred” to “Al” when he entered the Navy. While we lived far apart, so that I did not see him for most of my adult years, I was fortunate enough to reconnect in the past few years. He was interested in family history and commented on the blog. After hearing stories at his memorial service I began to understand how he resembled his grandfather Alfred Fouracre Firmin, who was known as Fred. Among other things, both were modest about their many accomplishments, rarely complained, and had a certain grace about them. I admired my grandfather for his quiet demeanor and ability to bring light and grace into simple everyday actions and it pleases me to think that this was passed on as a Firmin legacy.

The following is a copy of Al’s obituary:

Al Firmin was born on April 24, 1937. He passed away peacefully on December 28th surrounded by his loving family after decades of debilitating illnesses. He is survived by his wife, Roxane; children, Caroline, Margaret, Derek, Rebecca and John. He has 6 grand children and 3 great grandchildren.

Even when he was in pain, he was filled with love and extremely good-natured. It was his wish that we celebrate his return home by bringing joy to others especially those who need a joke or smile to brighten their day. Please do a good deed in his name to honor him.

Al Firmin was a hands-on, engineering magician. While in the Navy, he was the expert they sent to make the guns, radar and plotting systems sing. He was on-board for the retrieval of Apollo 16. After 24 years in the Navy, Al became a National Video Engineer for Westinghouse and Group W Cable where he designed and built over 200 television production studios nationwide. He was sought out and hired as the chief video engineer for Michigan Consolidated Gas in Detroit. While on the Great Lakes, Al purchased Wave Dancer, joined the Coast Guard Auxiliary, became the flotilla commander and was known as one of the best small boat handlers. He was also affectionately known as “the last of the unhung horse thieves” because Al could always find a deal. He loved reviving equipment and finding a way to make things work.

During his first marriage, he fathered two beautiful daughters, Caroline & Margaret. They played in the desert on dune buggies and worked on many projects together. After retiring from the Navy, he met the love of his life, Roxane and helped raise her two children and loved them as his own. Roxane and Al have one son together John, who is Al’s clone. John and Tamra are expecting their first child in a couple weeks.

Almost every night, he would say, “Pleasant dreams and I love you.” So we say to you, “Al, pleasant journey and we love you, too.”

One thought on “Farewell cousin Fred

  1. Donde Smith says:

    Wish I had known him!

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