Richard H. Stilp, 71, passed away on Saturday, January 27, 2024, peacefully at his home in Oviedo, Florida.
Richard was born on August 22, 1952, in Neenah, WI.
Richard Harold Stilp what can I say a firefighter’s fireman, an instructor, mentor, and a true friend to many. He just wasn’t a firefighter he lived it and embraced it. He loved the fire brotherhood and embodied this in all he did.
Rick started his journey into the fire service in the mid 70s and ended his career as fire chief. Every position from firefighter paramedic, engineer, lieutenant, district chief, and fire chief he embraced the position and strived to learn his next challenge with pride and zeal. He also ensured that the people around him understood this pride. His enthusiasm was infectious.
No matter where he went he attracted firefighters, no matter who he was talking to he spoke about the fire department. No matter when in his professional life he had an opportunity to recruit, he would.
His fire service career included many projects and many different aspects of the fire department from being a paramedic ( and a fine good one) to a rescue diver, high angle rescuer to hazmat tech and hazmat medic. He developed dive rescue programs, EMS bicycle patrol (one of the first in the country) and along with an associate firefighter, the first Hazmat Medic Program in the country.
He was once told that he was a renaissance man that his work is ahead of its time.
Rick was one that loved to teach, and with that was the desire to learn as well. Although having difficulty learning in his early years he overcame this with a tenacious desire to learn a new skill and the knowledge that would follow.
He was never shy to give a helping hand and mentor at all levels, individuals that he saw promise and interest never giving a negative impression always positive.
On the state level involved with the training of firefighters, served many years as the Director of Central Florida Fire Academy along with involvement with the local planning council and the Emergency Response Commission. Writing, developing and teaching specialized topics to emergency responders across the state. Hazardous materials awareness, operations, fentanyl response, chemical suicide response and hydration to name a few and one of many to institute the Florida Hazmat Symposium.
On the national level, technical consultant to the National Fire Academy for the Advanced Hazmat Life Support Program, and member of the National Fire Protection Association Hazmat Standards Group.
We are not sure how many people Rick mentored over the years but it has to be in the several hundred.
His work is present in many articles and books that have been published over the years, which will continue to influence the future generations of responders.
Richard, the son of a sailor, enjoyed being on the water boating with his family, traveling with the love of his life, working with his son on cars and spending quality time with his sister and brother. Some of his favorite things were watching the sunset, good bourbon, and sharing stories.
Richard is survived by his wife, “His Sweetie” Anna, their children, Julie Stilp Harahan (Jerry), Kelly Stilp Campbell (Jude), Jake Stilp (Erin), stepchildren, Rachel van Olffen (Sam) and Becca Bassoo, grandchildren, Rebecca, Christopher, Taylor, Tyler, Trey, Eli, Olivia, Noah and Iris, great-grandchildren, Jacob and Bruce. His sister, Pauli Uricchio (Joe), brother, Jeff Stilp (Lisa) and sister-in-law, Ruanne Deal (Kenneth) and many friends. Richard is preceded in death by his parents, Ivan and Margaret Stilp.
A memorial service for Richard will be held 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m., Sunday, February 25, 2024, at The Orlando Fire Department Union Hall (4005 North Orange Blossom Trail, Orlando, Florida 32804)