Francis Webster, 88, chief of Baltimore fire school

October 10, 2005

Francis Webster, a retired battalion chief of the Baltimore City fire school, died of respiratory disease Oct. 2. The former Baltimore resident was 88.

Born and raised in Baltimore, he attended Polytechnic Institute from 1931 to 1933 before leaving school to help his widowed mother at home.

Mr. Webster joined the Baltimore Fire Department in April 1942, leaving to serve in the Army Air Forces during World War II. He was discharged with the rank of staff sergeant in 1946.

He returned to his career in the Fire Department where he became battalion chief of the fire school in 1966. Mr. Webster helped develop emergency-response strategies for the department.

"He was a very generous, very giving man," said his son-in-law, Joe Heiderman. "More than anything else, he gave up his time."

Mr. Webster enjoyed watching baseball and football games.

Mr. Webster retired in 1972 and moved to Florida. A fan of square-dancing, he served as president of the dance organization Strawberry Squares. He returned to Maryland in 1989 to be closer to his children and grandchildren.

Services were Thursday.

He is survived by a son, Lawrence Wester of Bel Air; a daughter, Lynn Heiderman of Perry Hall; and three grandchildren.

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