Emory E. “Abe” Leight, a career Baltimore County firefighter and World War II veteran, died Monday of complications from renal failure at Stella Maris Hospice.
The longtime Hereford resident was 93.
The son of Emory Charles Leight, a contractor, and Pearl Irene Price, a homemaker, Emory Ellwood Leight was born in Monkton and raised in Hereford. He attended Baltimore County public schools.
When he was 18, he joined the Hereford Volunteer Fire Company, and had served as the fire company’s chief and continued to be a member until his death.
During World War II, he served as a military policeman with the 16th Replacement Depot in Belgium and France. He was discharged with the rank of private.
In 1947, he joined the Baltimore County Fire Department. In 1955, he was promoted to lieutenant and five years later to captain.
He was named battalion chief in 1963, a position he held for 22 years until retiring in 1985.
“Most people, even those committed to a profession, find that their passion for their calling waxes and wanes over the years. Abe’s never did,” Baltimore County Fire Chief Kyrle W. Preiss III wrote in a tribute to Mr. Leight.
“For 76 years, he gave his heart and soul to firefighting, and especially to the Hereford community. He inspired others to get involved in the fire service some way,” he wrote. “And in every moment of his long career, Abe Leight was the model of what members of the fire service should be.”
“Firefighting was his hobby,” said his wife of 33 years, the former Barbara Kelly, a retired X-ray technologist. “He purchased a 1952 Mack firetruck, which he drove to musters and parades until selling it two years ago. He also collected firefighting memorabilia.”
Mr. Leight was also a history buff who maintained a particular interest in the Civil War and World War II, his wife said.
He was a longtime member of Hereford Baptist Church.
Funeral services will be held at noon Friday at Summit Manor, 501 Monkton Road, Monkton.
In addition to his wife, he is survived by his stepdaughter, Margie Burnett of Lauraville; and two granddaughters.