Harry Gillen another legend gone.

GeoC

Member
Joined
Jul 25, 2018
Messages
56
With regret I learned from L-131 (Happy Hookers) of the passing of Senior Man Harry Gillen. Harry spent 40+ years at 131 and was awarded the Title Delegate Emeritus by the UFA. He was the man everyone went to for advice and a experience. Too many stories to tell on this site but when you go to the Fire Academy you will always see the Stained Glass he made, remember him as you pass by it. After retirement he would still go to E-279 L131 for breakfast and work on his stained glass in the shop the guys made for him on the third floor. He will be missed by many a Firefighter he mentored. This one included, RIP Harry

Stain Glass he made, remember him when you pass by it.
T
 
Last edited:

GeoC

Member
Joined
Jul 25, 2018
Messages
56
Harry Gillen! My big fingers. Sorry Harry but he’s probably yelling at me already.
 

den114

Active member
Joined
Nov 25, 2015
Messages
203
Rest In Peace Harry, thanks for your service & your dedication to FDNY. Your presence at so many memorials & tributes & events after 9/11, was a great morale booster from you, the true meaning of “senior man”. GOD BLESS & condolences to the Gillen family.
 

68jk09

Well-known member
Joined
May 6, 2010
Messages
13,912
On 4-25-21 at 88 yrs of age.....REST IN PEACE BROTHER.....THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE BOTH MILITARY (US NAVY) & FDNY PRAYERS FOR THE COMFORT OF THE FAMILIES....... PHOTO & OBIT.. memorials.mclaughlinandsons.com/henry-gillen/4599926/obituary.php
Viewing/Visitation: Mc Laughlin FH
9620 3rd Ave. @ 97th Street
Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, NY
Wed. 4/28/21 7 - 9 PM
Thursday 4/29/21 2 - 5 & 7 - 9 PM

Funeral Mass: St. Patrick RC Church
9511 4th Ave. @ 95th Street
Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, NY
Friday 4/30/21 10:30 AM

Interment: Resurrection Cemetery
361 Sharrott Avenue
Staten Island, NY
 

68jk09

Well-known member
Joined
May 6, 2010
Messages
13,912

E279/L131 THE HAPPY HOOKERS

..............................................................................
Henry “Harry” Gillen
Ladder 131
On April 25th, 2021 a true legend of the FDNY was lost. There has never been and never will again be a member of the FDNY who worked in a firehouse for 75 years.
Harry was truly one of a kind. Our friend, our mentor and our Senior man Henry “Harry” Gillen was born across the street from Engine 279 and Ladder 131 on February 7th 1933.
Harry first entered the firehouse in 1947, when he was just 13-years-old and became friends with the members. On October 19th 1957, Harry was hired as an FDNY firefighter at 24 years old and was assigned to Ladder 131.
Shortly before his hiring, on December 3rd of 1956, was the Luckenbach Dock fire and explosion which killed 9 and injured 247 people. This pier was in Engine 279 and Ladder 131’s second due area and the blast injured many members of both companies. This tragic event only strengthened Harry’s calling to this career.
While a firefighter in Ladder 131, there were many fires and emergencies in Red Hook, Carrol Gardens and Park Slope that Harry worked. One particularly memorable emergency was the mid-air collision of two aircraft on December 16, 1960 resulting in one plane crashing in Park Slope. This incident killed all 128 people aboard the two aircraft and six people on the ground.
Another legendary fire Harry fought was at the Hotel St. George on August 26, 1995. This building was once the city's largest hotel. In all, more than 700 firefighters and 100 companies (the equivalent of 16 alarms) battled this fire for multiple days.
Harry was known throughout the FDNY for two things, his hard-nosed toughness as a Brooklyn firefighter and his masterful ability as a stained-glass craftsman. Throughout his career, Harry created thousands of pieces of stained glass, many of which can be found in firehouses throughout the FDNY including at Headquarters and the FDNY academy. If you see stained-glass around the job, it is almost guaranteed that Harry created it.
After 40 years of service, on December 30th 1997, Harry retired as the most senior firefighter in the FDNY.
Despite this, he continued coming to the firehouse almost every morning, arriving at 8 AM with bagels in hand to have breakfast with the firefighters. After that, he would climb the stairs to his third-floor stained-glass workshop where he would create incredible works of art. Additionally, Harry would never accept payment for the pieces he created, as his love for the job was payment enough.
On 9/11, despite being retired, Harry was once again instrumental in the recovery efforts. That evening he commandeered a flat bed truck from the tool rental facility across the street. He and members of L131 also borrowed generators, jack hammers, concrete saws and power tools. For days Harry transported members back and forth from the firehouse to the site. As always, Harry’s selfless actions and leadership were a guiding light through these tough times.
Harry was a wealth of knowledge and experience and was the epitome of the Senior Man. We will miss the slow clank of his cane coming up the stairs every morning and his warm smile as he would tell stories of fires of the past over breakfast. Harry will be dearly missed by all members of Engine 279 and Ladder 131 and is a Happy Hooker forever.
 

ta176

Member
Joined
May 28, 2020
Messages
67
I just received word of the passing of FF John Block, Sq. 4 & L176, in St. Petersburg Fl.. He died in Hospice care and no info regarding wake at this time.
 

68jk09

Well-known member
Joined
May 6, 2010
Messages
13,912
I just received word of the passing of FF John Block, Sq. 4 & L176, in St. Petersburg Fl.. He died in Hospice care and no info regarding wake at this time.
Very sad news....i first met John Block the night after the '71 LTs test.....Howie Carlson & i went to a bar named "My Friends Place" on Atlantic Ave & 75 St....Howie introduced me to John Block & Larry McCarthy there.....John Block was friends with John Vigiano so i continued to run into John thru the years .....a real nice & interesting fellow & FF....he later was a BN*FF in BN*37 with BC Jim Manahan Sr.....one night at a job on Pitkin Ave i was in R*2 & the 37 had responded also....the Fire was in some ground floor stores all with the usual roll downs covering the first floor front...as we were walking up John Block & BC Manahan were on the side walk in front of one of the stores as FFs were forcing the roll down ....whatever they were doing caused the entire large roll down to pull away from the bldg on one side & swing out towards the street the FFs were able to step aside but John Block & BC Jim were right in the path & headed for the street .....the roll down caught up with them by the curb....what saved them from more serious injuries was that the parking meters along the curb line held the roll down from crushing them......one time years before when John Block was still in SQ*4 on Bristol St myself & Pete Linzy were going campaigning for John Kopp for UFA BKLYN trustee.....several supporters were going around BKLYN prior to election time Pete & i were doing FHs in ENY...Brownsville & Bushwick....it was a hot election & certain areas already had their candidate selected ....the area mentioned that Pete & i were campaigning in was not all in favor of John but of their own guy so not all FHs were that receptive....when we were walking into 283/SQ*4 on Bristol St i knew it would not be an easy sell ....Otis J. was in front of the FH by the HW & we told him what we were there for & he said "sure the guys are in the kitchen , head on back".....there was a lot of noise coming from the small crowded kitchen ......as we got closer to the kitchen door i saw John Block sitting at the table with his feet up tying some fishing flies....i thought to myself at least i somewhat knew one guy in the crowd....as we walked in the kitchen everybody stopped talking & stared...i said "hello John how are you ? " ...he replied "good what are you doing here"... i said Pete & myself are campaigning for John Kopp".....still silence from all the guys then John said " well you came to the wrong place".....i thought oh boy & here i thought we were in....we discussed some issues with the guys but i dont think we won any voters there...John Kopp did win that term though ..... we laughed about that day thru the years wishing we could both go back .... John Block certainly saw the busiest of the FDNY War Years .SQ*4 1970 10.000 RUNS.....REST IN PEACE BROTHER.....PRAYERS FOR THE COMFORT OF THE FAMILIES.
 
Top