Chief Elwood Felton Hairr

Remembering our dad
Our dad was born in 1919 and raised in Sampson County, NC. He cherished his childhood and often told stories of how those young days unfolded and were shared with his 1 brother and 5 sisters. He loved and respected his parents and enjoyed time on the family farm. One of dads favorite things to do was revisit his home place and catch up with acquaintances and several siblings who continued to live there.

Once dad left his childhood home he joined the US Army Air Corps in World  War ll as a gunner on a B17 fighter plane. He ran many missions and experienced being shot down over open water.  Dad received many metals for his service but seldom shared his experiences of war.

Once back from the war dad met and married our mother, Ruby. They stayed a devoted couple who were married for 62 years. Dad joined the American Legion, Post 386. He liked the camaraderie amongst other veterans and participated in numerous community activities. He especially liked to help create the famous legion hot dogs sold most Saturdays.

Dad was a Christian man attending church most Sundays. He was honest, reliable, smart and dedicated to modeling good morels for his family.

Dad retired from the Greensboro Fire Department as a Battalion Chief after 35 years of service. We remember his neatly pressed uniform and the red fire car he drove while on duty. He took his job seriously and expected excellence from his fellow fire fighters. Dad never shared tragic cases of battling fires with loss of life. He did instill in us a respect for fire.

Dad loved to flounder gig and fish while vacationing at the outer banks. He was one of the original firemen who helped build the cottage at Hatteras that would be used by firefighters and their families for years to come.

We remember dad being good with his hands, always building or inventing ways to repair most anything around the house. Everything in our home was well cared for and maintained. Dad never wasted money on unnecessary things. He was very frugal.

His most loved passion was the garden he planted every year. Dad had neatly plowed rows of carefully planted vegetables. Once planted he tediously tended those crops until maturity. He would sit for hours in his outdoor lounge chair (that had seen better days)and watch his crops. We thought maybe he was asking God for a good harvest. As he got older and struggled with his vision he would plant his garden rows with a string tied from one end to the other.  Once his health declined and eyesight failed him due to macular degeneration, he still said he would plant and take care of his garden as long as he could crawl to it. We saw our strong father as determined, proud and strong willed, all traits he passed down to his children. Where there is a will, there is a way, if you work hard which our dad always did. Dad loved to share his harvest with family, friends and neighbors.

Dad could be quiet the story teller at times. He was expressive and had a way of capturing an audience who listened as though they pictured all his details.

Dad was opinionated and not afraid to voice that opinion. If he felt he had been wronged he assertively addressed it in a mostly appropriate way. Our father knew where his children were and what they were doing most always. We all had teenage curfews and we definitely made sure we showed respect for our parents.  It was expected and we all learned it was the right thing to do. The stability, hard work, tough love and strength were passed down to all his children.
You never realize how blessed you are when you are young. Our father was a true hero, never bragged about any of his accomplishments. We will always be grateful and have heartfelt pride for our father, our hero. He was not always comfortable verbalizing his emotions but we knew he loved us and we treasure the intangible gifts we received to move us forward to live our best lives possible.
by: Wanda Hoff, Judy Evans, Janice Jackson and Steve Hairr