It is with great sadness that the Panama City Fire Department announces the passing of Retired Panama City Fire Chief Bobby Richardson on January 5, 2019 at the age of 79. Chief Richardson had an honorable career with the Panama City Fire Department spanning 30 years from 1964 to 1994. Chief Richardson moved through the ranks of the Panama City Fire Department to retire after 20 years in the position of Fire Chief. He was also the President of the Florida Fire Chiefs’ Association from 1982 to 1983.
On July 16, 1975, he became the Fire Chief of the Panama City Fire Department. At the time of his promotion, he was the youngest Fire Chief in a professional career department in the State of Florida. Chief Richardson was a believer in education and training, establishing the Panama City Fire Training Facility to ensure that his firefighters were equipped with the skills and knowledge they needed to protect their city and citizens.
Chief Richardson participated in many local civic associations: the Panama City Exchange Club, the Panama City Rotary Club, leader of Boy Scouts, and youth coach. Prior to employment with the City of Panama City, Chief Richardson served in the United States Navy as a Submariner.
As a Firefighter and Fire Chief, he was honored by many in the Fire Service, having been recognized as the Bay County Firefighter of the Year, the State of Florida Firefighter of the Year, and the State of Florida Fire Chief of the Year. He was also appointed by the Governor to serve on the Florida State Fire Board and as the Fire Representative for the Florida State Building Codes.
Under the command of Chief Richardson the Panama City Fire Department was shaped into the fire department it is today, an organization of dedicated, well trained professionals putting their community’s needs before their own. He viewed the Firefighter as an athlete. He felt these candidates understood the concept of teamwork and made for a great Firefighter.
Visitation will be held on Friday, January 11, 2019 at 9:00 a.m. followed by a memorial service at 11:00 a.m. Visitation and services will be held at the First Baptist Church, 610 Grace Avenue in Panama City. A procession to Evergreen Memorial Gardens, 3733 North Highway 231 in Panama City will follow the services.
For additional information, please contact the Panama City Fire Department at (850) 872-3055.