Friends, family and officials gather to say goodbye to Chief Forezzi

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – It was a somber and touching ceremony inside a beautiful historic church.

Albany Fire Chief Bob Forezzi Sr. spent his entire career with the department. He started in 1974 and became chief in 2006. He served his last seven years as chief until his retirement in December 2013.


Forezzi died Sunday after an eight-month battle with an aggressive form of digestive cancer. He was 61-years old.

A procession was held on Friday through the streets of Albany on its way to St. Mary’s Church. It was a service full of fire department honors for the former fire chief. The salutes continued inside after his grandson, Alex Forezzi, gave his part of the eulogy.

“My grandfather is the epitome of class and leadership,” he said. “He represents one of the greatest values: selfless service. He put his community and family before himself.”

Former Albany Mayor Jerry Jennings appointed Forezzi as deputy chief in 2002. Jennings also gave a eulogy.

st. mary's church forezzi funeral

“It’s been said that what you are in life echoes in eternity,” Jennings said. “Bob Forezzi’s life, his legacy, his service to this city will continue to echo, I have no doubt, for a very, very long time. I love you, my friend. Rest in peace. God bless.”

Following the ceremony, Forezzi was taken on a traditional drive through the streets of Albany pausing at each fire house he worked.

Forezzi grew up across the street from Engine 5 where his grandfather was a lieutenant.

During his nearly four decades of service, he created numerous programs to get young people interested in the fire service. Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan said Forezzi was proud of the department.

“When he would talk about the fire service with his young people, he had such passion, and I knew he really inspired a lot of them,” she said.

Among some of his accomplishments, Forezzi is credited for establishing an EMT class at Albany High School, a summer cadet program for young adults interested in fire service, and a fire prevention reading program in schools.

“If say, he did, by far, an extraordinary job bringing joy and happiness to us all,” Alex Forezzi said. “He has motivated me to follow my dreams and never give in.”

The former fire chief is survived by his wife, his mother, two sons, grandchildren and other family.

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