Lehighton Fire Chief John "Jack" Kuller Jr. had his last call on Wednesday.
His loss will not be forgotten by his family and friends, which include the devoted firefighters who served the community by his side. Some firefighters openly cried as they took part in the funeral procession.
En route to the funeral service at Ss. Peter and Paul Catholic Church, the procession paused for a moment of silence in front of the fire station, then again at a Fireman's Monument in the Lehighton Park. The procession then passed by his home on Fourth Street, where a full-size poster of Kuller smiled for his comrades.
The Lehighton fire truck bearing his flag-draped coffin passed through an arch draped with black bunting formed by two aerial trucks of the Lehighton and Walnutport Fire Departments.
Fire companies, rescue squads and ambulances representing 18 communities came together at the Catholic cemetery to honor their friend and share his last call. The firefighters fanned out around the family to hear Kuller's brother, the Rev. Thomas J. Kuller, and the Rev. Michael P. Ahrensfield, offer the funeral prayers.
The county communications center dispatcher announced the final call for Kuller at the end of the service, honoring him for his 32 years of service.
"You were a father, a brother, a leader, a teacher, a mentor and friend," said the dispatcher. "You will be missed."
His last call was followed by the playing of "Taps" by Henry Long and "Amazing Grace," playing on bagpipes, as the fire siren sounded. An overcast sky added to the gloom while the services were held.
On Friday, Kuller, 60, was found dead in his residence by his son, Joshua.
Chief Deputy Coroner James Hauser, who served in the fire department under Kuller, said he died of natural causes.
Kuller joined the Lehighton Fire Department in 1979, under Chief Edward Conarty Jr, when there were two fire companies in Lehighton – Lehigh Fire Company No. 1 and Engine Company 2.