Charles Paul Josling
Paul Josling, who passed away in his 67th year on Saturday, March 11, 2017 after a long, courageous battle with cancer, spent much of his life building things, and keeping them from being burned down.
A builder by trade, he also served for 37 years on the Blyth and District Fire Department and the Fire Department of North Huron, 23 of them as chief.
He was born on Feb. 24, 1951, the son of Elgin and Gladys Josling of Londesborough. After attending Hullett Central Public School and Central Huron Secondary School he apprenticed with A. Manning and Sons before beginning his own contracting business, Josling Bros. Construction with his brother Neil, which he continued until he became Chief Building Official with the Village of Blyth in April 1990, later adding the Village of Brussels, the Township of McKillop, the Township of Morris and the Township of Turnberry to the municipalities he served.
After municipal amalgamization in 2001 he became Chief Building Official for the Municipality of Huron East, where he continued until his official retirement in 2016, although he had been on medical leave since being diagnosed with cancer in June, 2014.
“What he brought to us as CBO was the ideal combination of practical experience as a general contractor along with the skills he developed as CBO for the smaller municipalities,” said Brad Knight, CAO of Huron East.
“When we amalgamated he had the ideal skill set for the position, which was further enhanced by his background and involvement as fire chief. With Paul as CBO he provided us with some extra depth from a fire perspective that you normally wouldn’t expect from the CBO. I think what Paul enjoyed from the position is that he now had a permanent place to work from with support staff to draw from.”
While his professional career was in building and supervising building, his passion was in firefighting. Commenting in an article in The Citizen at the time of his retirement from the Fire Department of North Huron in 2011, he said he had wanted to be a firefighter for as long as he could remember.
Doug Scrimgeour, who would later serve as a captain with the Blyth department while Paul was chief, remembers Paul was laying carpet in a Scrimgeour bedroom when the fire siren went off and Scrimgeour ran off to answer the call. When he returned, Paul told him he’d love to be a firefighter and “a lifetime of service resulted”.
Paul remembered vividly joining the department on April 4, 1974 at the age of 23 and the long training that resulted.
In 1987, long-time chief Irvin Bowes, who was planning to retire, approached Paul about taking over the job. He had already been named the officer in charge of auto extrication in 1981. In 1988 he was elevated to the post of chief.
Scrimgeour says one of Paul’s greatest accomplishments was convincing the councillors of the municipalities that supported the former Blyth department to provide the money needed for better equipment.
The Blyth department became a leader among the county’s volunteer fire departments in offering Medical First Response and he promoted the merits of the program to other municipalities. His department also adopted the Automatic Defibrillation Program.
Blyth also played host to the Firefighters’ Association of Ontario (FFAO) annual convention four times during his years as chief, 2001, 2004, 2007 and 2010. Speaking at Paul’s retirement party in 2011, Darren Storey of the FFAO remembered him as a great host for the event.
He was also chief when members of his department volunteered their time to set up the Emergency Services Training Centre in Blyth.
Beyond the Blyth department, Paul served as Huron County Mutual Fire Aid Co-odinator, bringing together the efforts of 340 volunteer firefighters across the county.
In The Citizen story at the time of his retirement he said there were many bad incidents during his long career as a firefighter that were hard to forget, but the worst day on the job was the day in 2006 when he heard the news that one of his firefighters, OPP Constable Dave Mounsey, had been killed when his cruiser left the road while responding to an accident.
In 2009 when OPP Constable Patrick Armstrong approached Paul about setting up the Dave Mounsey Memorial Fund to place life-saving defibrillators in public buildings, Paul became the first board member and was elected vice-president of the fund, a position he held until he retired in 2013.
In 2014 he was presented with the fund’s second-ever Meritorious Service Cross presented “for a deed or service which was performed in an exceptionally high standard and manner which brought considerable honour to and for the Dave Mounsey Memorial Fund”.
He was also a long-time volunteer with the Huron Pioneer Thresher & Hobby Association, serving as president in 2004 and 2005 and acting as safety lead for several years. For many years the Blyth and District Fire Department also had auto extrication demonstrations at the reunion.
Paul was also a member of the Blyth Masonic Lodge #303, AF & AM, rising through all the chairs to become Master.
He was also a board member with Crime Stoppers for several years and a member of the Blyth Lions Club.
Throughout his many activities he was ably assisted and supported by his wife of more than 40 years. He married Dianne Cook on June 4, 1976. They had two children who they raised in Blyth in the house Paul built himself. He is survived by Jeff and his wife Shanann and Joanne and her husband Mike Dixon. Paul will be missed by his grandchildren: Kyle, Jacob, Emily and Keegan.
He is also survived by his sisters Eilleen Jefferson, RR1, Belgrave, Marie and her husband Sandy Tomlinson, Kitchener; and Betty and her husband Jamie Clelland, Texas and by his brothers Ken of Londesborough and Neil and his wife Elaine of Clinton.
Also surviving are his sisters-in-law Brenda and her husband Bill McDougall, Blyth; Connie and her husband Kevin Tasker, Goderich; Maryanne Cook Fitzgerald and Ernie Dale, RR3, Blyth; and Susan Dale and Charles East, Clinton; and by his brothers-in-law Bill Cook, Blyth; Stephen and his wife Debbie, Blyth and Sam and his wife Vickie, Cambridge as well as many nieces and nephews.
Besides his parents, he was predeceased by his brother Lloyd Josling and his brothers-in-law Wes Jefferson, George Cook and Peter Cook.
Visitation was held Wednesday, March 15 at Blyth United Church from 2-4 and 7-9 p.m. The funeral service will be held Thursday, March 16 at 11 a.m. at Blyth United Church with Rev. Gary Clark officiating.
In lieu of flowers, donations to the Dave Mounsey Memorial Fund would be appreciated.
Condolences to the Josling family may be forwarded to www.