ARCHER, Leonard James Jude, III
At 2:30pm, Sunday, April 10, 2022, Master Firefighter Len Archer, responded to the most important call of his life when Our Lord and Savior called him home to heaven. He was surrounded by family when the call came. Len passed away from complications related to treatment of his Stage 4 Terminal Pancreatic Cancer diagnosis of July 2018. His cancer was deemed an Occupational Exposure while on duty over the course of his long career in the fire service so he is considered a Line of Duty Death and his name will be added to the roster of Fallen Firefighters. Len began his firefighting career as a volunteer with Mattituck Fire Department on the east end of Long Island, NY in October 1979, with Badge Number 481. In 1980 he took a job with Myrtle Beach Fire-Rescue where he stayed until 1982. He was hired by Richmond Fire Bureau in 1985 with badge number 170 where he served for 32 years in the suppression division and arson investigations section where he was a certified K-9 Handler. After retiring from Richmond, Len began work for Louisa County Fire & EMS where he was forced to hang up his helmet for the last time after about 6 months due to health conditions. During his time in Myrtle Beach while working an off-duty security job, Len met Paula and fell head over heels in love with her. He loved her with every fiber of his being from the day they met until the last breath, and now his love continues for her until they are reunited according to God’s plan. Len was in his fourth year as a cancer survivor. He was a man of great faith and that led him to not fear cancer but to meet it head on. He decided to participate in an experimental drug study program so that he could help fellow and future cancer patients by allowing medical data to be gathered. He spent his last years of his life taking a drug which eradicated his body of the cancer but caused secondary health issues. Even with those issues, he lived three years longer than expected and he and Paula made the most of it. He was always smiling and joking, and he worried more about helping others than the help that he needed. They have lived the last two years in The Villages in central Florida where it’s always warm and sunny. Len was thrilled to never have to shovel snow again. After Len’s diagnosis he made a point of traveling to many fire departments and speaking about cancer prevention initiatives amongst our ranks. Firefighters, please honor his memory by taking steps to avoid preventable cancers and by always using proper PPE to make it as difficult as possible for cancer to get to you. Len’s walk with God gave him the peace he needed to get through the journey. He encouraged all of us to trust in God as we watched His miracle in Len’s life. Len continued his Christian Music Ministry through his cancer years until health issues prevented him from continuing in the last year. He is survived by his wife of 39 years, Paula Ager Archer, their daughter, Virginia Mae Lee (Roy), and granddaughter Amber Lynn Lee. Len was predeceased by Lt. Ellie Archer on November 19, 2020. She was his faithful Accelerant Detection K-9 Partner in the Richmond Fire & Police Investigations Unit who was with him 24/7 even in retirement. A Firefighter’s Memorial Service with full honors will be held on Friday, April 29, 2022, at 2:00pm at Mount Vernon Baptist Church, 11220 Nuckols Road, Glen Allen, VA 23059. The family requests in lieu of flowers donations be made to Len’s favorite charity, The RFD Foundation which provides financial support to The Metro Richmond Flying Squad, an all-volunteer agency which provides rehab support to firefighters, police officers, and EMS Personnel on incidents every day across 4 different political jurisdictions. Donations can be made payable to RFD Foundation, and mailed to Richmond Fire & Police Credit Union, 200 W. Grace St., Richmond, VA 23220. The service will be available thru live stream at https://subspla.sh/3369726 beginning 5 minutes before the service.