Peter Paul Lochary, 87, firefighter leader, state Forest Service warden


Peter Paul Lochary, a longtime Harford County volunteer firefighter who had been president of the Maryland State Firemen's Association, died of complications from a hip replacement Monday at Harford Memorial Hospital. The Forest Hill resident was 87.

Mr. Lochary was born and raised in Kalmia, Harford County. After graduating from Harford public schools, he became a licensed barber.

He worked for more than 30 years as a warden for the state Forest Service, which is now part of the state Department of Natural Resources.

"He had been supervisor of a tree-trimming team and had worked at Rocks State Park and other parks in Harford and Cecil counties," said a daughter, Jeannie Lochary of Forest Hill.

Mr. Lochary retired in 1965 from the state Forest Service after being injured while fighting a forest fire.

"He always had a love of the outdoors and loved planting and caring for trees and shrubs. He was also very knowledgeable when it came to caring for and treating unhealthy trees," the daughter said.

Mr. Lochary was a past member and assistant chief of the Abingdon Volunteer Fire Company and a member for more than 40 years of the Bel Air Volunteer Fire Company.

"He only lived three blocks away from the fire station, which is pretty handy when you're a volunteer firefighter," said Fire Chief Tom Schaech of the Bel Air fire company.

"He was a firefighter and went out on calls, but his forte was teaching fire prevention to kids and adults. He showed them what started fires and how they could be prevented," he said.

Mr. Lochary instantly caught the attention of his audience when he demonstrated how flammable hair spray was, for instance, or how to operate a fire extinguisher.

"I think he really liked those fire prevention and training classes. He certainly put a lot of effort into them," said Gene Worthington, a member of the Level Volunteer Fire Company and a past president of the Maryland State Firemen's Association. "He was dedicated to serving his community and devoted his life to the fire service."

"He was a very happy, low-key individual who was well-liked by the company. When you lose a man like Peter Paul, it's like losing a piece of our history," Mr. Schaech said.

Mr. Lochary was a past president of the Harford-Cecil Fireman's Association, which this month inducted him into its Hall of Fame in a ceremony at the Bel Air firehouse.

During the 1960s, Mr. Lochary served as president of the Maryland State Firemen's Association and was a member of the Maryland Fire Chiefs Association Inc.

In 1968, Gov. Spiro T. Agnew appointed him to the Maryland State Fire Prevention Commission, where he served for 16 years and was commission chairman for two terms.

Mr. Lochary was married for 60 years to the former Oneta Cheek, a retired First National Bank of Maryland vice president who died in 2002.

He was a communicant of St. Ignatius Roman Catholic in Hickory, where a Mass of Christian burial was offered Thursday.

In a tribute to Mr. Lochary, pallbearers were from the Bel Air Volunteer Fire Company, whose Engine 313 led the funeral procession to the cemetery.

Mr. Lochary is survived by another daughter, Barbara L. Caine of Forest Hill; a brother, Charles "Neil" Lochary of Bel Air; and five grandchildren.

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