One of our former JW friends (a really nice man, and a very prominent elder in our area) was a fireman for many years. He was killed last year in a freak accident. So, that situation you had is not the regular policy. This is his obituary:
After 26 years in the Seattle Fire Department and several years of semi-retirement, Richard Friedt was back in uniform, working as a motorcycle escort for private funeral processions.
He was helping others again, directing traffic Saturday, trying to smooth the way for those in mourning.
But in a blink, a brown Cadillac in the funeral procession clipped Friedt's motorcycle, sending it crashing into oncoming traffic. Friedt, 57, suffered a severe head injury.
"The combination of the two impacts sent the bike tumbling," said Deanna Nollette, spokeswoman for the Seattle Police Department.
News of the accident brought some 80 family members and friends to Harborview Medical Center's intensive-care unit. They ranged from firefighters, to members of the motorcade, to congregants from the Friedt family's church in Shoreline.
"We had to continually usher people away from the bed," said David Crook, a son-in-law who spoke on behalf of the family yesterday.
Shortly before 10 p.m. Saturday, his family decided to turn off life support, and Friedt died.
Friedt, of Shoreline, is survived by his wife of 35 years, Linda; six children, including a teenage daughter; and three grandchildren.
"It was really a blink-of-the-eye tragedy," Crook said.
The accident happened near the intersection of 23rd Avenue and Judkins Street in South Seattle. The driver of the Cadillac was questioned by police and released.
Born in Burien, Friedt graduated from Highline High School and spent three years in the Navy before he settled into a career as a firefighter. He crisscrossed the city during his career, his family said, serving in nearly every stationhouse in Seattle. He retired as a lieutenant from Station 24 in Seattle's North End.
As the father of five daughters and a son, Friedt could come across as protective and sometimes intimidating. But he also had a streak of mischief.
He was particularly fond of handing out one-line pearls of wisdom. The family called them "Rick-isms." They ranged from the sweet ? "Take your time leaving, but hurry back" ? to the sarcastic ? "Don't let the door hit you on your way out."
Sometimes they left the family laughing; sometimes relatives wondered what on earth he meant. "One of his philosophies in life was that when somebody's pushing your buttons, change your buttons," Crook said. "I haven't fully figured that one out yet."
As a Jehovah's Witness, Friedt stood somewhat apart from the other firefighters. He had the respect of his colleagues, his family said. But he was not spared firehouse teasing: Because he did not celebrate holidays such as Christmas, colleagues nicknamed him "No Treat Friedt."
Friedt and his wife had been active members in the Shoreline Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses for about three decades. Friedt was an elder there, a distinction given to the most active and learned among the congregation.