Calvin Brothers, firefighter, 4-H volunteer and chief building inspector, dies at 79

Firefighters and friends from across Carroll County gathered at the Haight Funeral Home in Sykesville on Jan. 1 to celebrate the life of Calvin Warren Brothers, 79, of Finksburg, who died Wednesday, Dec. 28, at Carroll Hospital Center in Westminster.

The service was conducted by Deacon Charles Barnhart, Carroll County Volunteer Emergency Services Association Chaplain.

Brothers wore many different hats in the greater Carroll community, and many knew him well by his community leadership. The one common thread is that he did everything well and no matter how difficult the task, he was always a good friend to everyone.

He was born Feb. 2, 1932, in Finksburg, the son of the late Ernest Claude and Amelia Ward Brothers. He was the husband of the late Carol Ann Baumes Brothers, who died in 2010.

He was a U.S. Army veteran, and served in Korea. He was a member of the Westminster VFW, Westminster Moose and the Westminster American Legion.

He worked for many years for Luther L. Brothers Builders, and later as the Chief Building Inspector for Carroll County.

Others knew him as a volunteer with Carroll County 4-H and FFA programs, where he once served as the chair of the Board of Directors for the Carroll County 4H and FFA Fair.

Folks gathered Sunday evening to celebrate Brothers' service as a volunteer firefighter. In May 1964, after several devastating fires in the Gamber area, the Gamber and Community Fire Company was organized.

According to an old newspaper article, "Two months after the company established itself, Calvin Brothers joined up. His uncle, a member, recruited him. 'Between 1965 and 1975, this was a very small company,' he said. 'It didn't seem like we were going to go too far.' "

But through the hard work of Brothers and other community leaders, the upstart fire company has gone far over the years.

"By 1965, the company purchased land and a building at the intersection of Md. 32 and Md. 91, and ordered the first piece of fire equipment…"

During the memorial service, Barnhart told the story of Brothers' work for the community, saying Brothers, "gave his volunteer spirit for 46 years."

He was the company president for 11 years in five different decades.

Over the years, in addition to serving as a delegate to the Carroll County Volunteer Firemen's Association and a member of numerous committees, he also served as Gamber fire chief, first vice-president for four years, second vice-president for three years and a member of the board of directors for an additional four years.

He also served as president of the county firefighters' association, 1992-1993, and was elected to the Carroll County Volunteer Firemen's Association Hall of Fame in 1990.

"His personality and devotion will never be forgotten," said Barnhart. "In every role, Calvin touched your lives with charm and wit, with courage and hope, with kindness and love. And I'm sure that it was a great reunion at the heavenly gate when Calvin arrived this past Wednesday. …

"Calvin became for all, the model of what it means to be an honest hard working sensitive adult. And now, as long as you live in the memory of his witness and faith, he will always live through you."

"We have been blessed with various gifts of service. We give thanks for the life of Calvin W. Brothers and say thank you for his 46 years of service to the Gamber and Community Volunteer Fire Company and the Gamber community. We are grateful for his time and commitment for the betterment of others."

A tribute on the fire company website, penned by Gamber fire company treasurer Clay Myers, said Brothers' surviving family include daughter and son-in-law Jen and Chad Dean, of Odenton; sons and daughter-in-law Rick Bartels of Glen Burnie; and John and Alisha Bartels of Gamber.

Also surviving are brothers and sisters-in-law Robert Brothers of Gamber; Luther L. and Eva M. Brothers of Gamber; and Carl Melvin and Bonnie Brothers of Traverse City, Mich.; sister Joan Gist of Gamber; grandchildren Kera Jefcoat, Kaitlyn Crabtree, Tyler Bartels and Olivia Hope Bartels; and great grandson Layton Jefcoat.

He was preceded in death by his wife, Carol Ann Baumes Brothers, as well as sisters Grace Shipley, Jeanette Robertson, Marietta Clark and Amelia Sue Green; brother-in-law Richard Gist; and grandson John Eric Bartels.

Funeral services were held Monday, Jan. 2, at Haight Funeral Home & Chapel with Deacon Charles Barnhart officiating. Interment was at the Providence Cemetery, Gamber.

Donations in the honor of the memory of Brothers may be made to the Gamber and Community Fire Department, 3939 Niner Rd., Finksburg, MD 21048.

Online condolences may be offered at

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