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Fire rescue lieutenant, 38, dies in accident

Lt. John Wade fell from the back of a pickup truck. A co-worker calls him quiet, compassionate and professional.

© St. Petersburg Times
published June 27, 2002

TAMPA -- A rescue lieutenant with the Hillsborough County Fire Rescue Department died Sunday (June 23, 2002) in a traffic accident on State Road 52 in Pasco County. He was 38.

John Eric Wade was born in Washington, Pa., but lived most of his life in Tampa. He was Protestant.

He was a drum major at King High School. In 1981, he earned his GED and enlisted in the Marine Corps. After an honorable discharge from the Marines, he enrolled at Hillsborough Community College. He earned an associate's degree and taught paramedic classes there.

Lt. Wade worked for Sunstar Emergency Medical Services in Pinellas County from May 1993 until June 1994. After leaving Sunstar, he joined the Hillsborough County Fire Rescue Department.

He was killed when he fell out of the back of a moving pickup truck.

"He was quiet, compassionate, and professional," said Karen Davidson, an employee at Hillsborough Rescue. "This is a tragic loss."

Lt. Wade received numerous commendations for attentiveness to duty and merit.

"He took it personally if he couldn't save one life, regardless if he was there or not," said his brother-in-law, George Infanzon. "He was in a burning car with a guy, and had to be dragged out of the car because he wouldn't leave the guy in there to die. He couldn't accept the fact that he couldn't help someone else."

Lt. Wade took flying lessons, and enjoyed parachuting in Zephyrhills, gardening, cooking and nature.

He was "very kind, positive, never said an unkind word about anyone. He was a very gentle soul," his sister, Susan Infanzon, said.

Survivors include his parents, Charles and June Wade, Tampa; sister and brother-in-law, Susan and George Infanzon, Tampa; two nephews, James and Evan; and numerous aunts, uncles and cousins.

Visitation is from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. today at at Glass Funeral Home, 6718 N Armenia Ave..

The family asks that contributions in his honor be sent to the Hillsborough County Fire Fighters Charities Inc.

Lt. Wade was a descendant of Pinellas County pioneers. In 1881, Pinellas pioneer James Parramore McMullen donated 10 acres on NE Coachman Road in Clearwater to be used as a cemetery for his relatives. Lt. Wade will be buried there 3 p.m. Friday.

Honor guards from Hillsborough County Fire Rescue will serve as pallbearers. Honorary pallbearers will be his lifelong friends Wayne and Hugh Prince, Calvin Buzzan, Mark Van De Boe, Charles Prince, Walter Prince Jr., Walter Prince Sr. and relatives George, James and Evan Infanzon.

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