DUCHESNE — Fire Chief Georg Adams died early Tuesday, four years after being diagnosed with colon cancer. He was 65.
"Georg's legacy will go on forever with the things he taught his firefighters and others in the community," said Duchesne County Fire and Emergency manager Mike Lefler.
"He was very passionate about the fire service and emergency management," said Lefler, who succeeded Adams as the county's top fire official in 2007.
"I would not have been able to do this job without Georg," Lefler added. "He taught me so much."
Adams and his wife emigrated to the United States from Zimbabwe in 1979. They made their home in Duchesne, where he worked as a civil engineer. He joined the small community's volunteer fire department and served as its chief for more than 30 years, according to city recorder Diane Miller.
It was a position he continued to hold even after he was diagnosed with cancer in 2008.
"He didn't have any quit in him. He never gave up," Lefler said.
But in July — with his body ravaged by cancer that had spread to his lungs and his bones — Adams finally had to retire from active firefighting, said Assistant Duchesne Fire Chief Terry Stephenson.
"He was a person who really cared about his community," Stephenson said. "He always pushed to make things better. He loved this firefighting life and he was good at it."
Stephenson described Adams as "a great leader who had everyone's respect." While saddened by his friend's death, Stephenson said he's grateful Adams is no longer in pain.
"He didn't need to suffer like that," he said. "I think we were all relieved this morning."
Adams is survived by his wife, Jenny, their two sons and nine grandchildren. Funeral services are pending.