DURHAM – Joseph M. Redden, 89, passed away on December 19, 2012. Joe was born in Newark, New Jersey, on January 29, 1923 to John and Gertrude Redden. After graduation from South Side High School in Newark, Joe became a sheet metal apprentice in the Federal Shipbuilding & Drydock Company in Newark. At the age of 20, he joined the United States Army and served in both the European and Pacific Theatres in WWII. He was honorably discharged in 1945, holding the rank of First Sergeant.
After returning from his wartime service Joe joined the Newark Fire Department in March of 1947 at the age of 24, and rose quickly through the ranks. In the state of New Jersey at that time, a firefighter’s performance on the statewide Civil Service examinations was the deciding factor in his promotion. He was promoted to Captain at age 30, Battalion Chief at age 34, and Deputy Chief at age 37. Then, in 1962, at the youthful age of 39, he placed first on the Civil Service exam and attained the position of Fire Chief of what was then about the 30th largest city in the nation according to population rank. Joe was a founding member of the Metro Chiefs Committee of the International Association of Fire Chiefs. The Metro Chiefs Committee is comprised of the Fire Chiefs from the largest cities in the nation. After retiring from the Newark Fire Department in 1977, Joe was hired by the National Fire Protection Association of Boston, MA and worked at NFPA for 12 years. He started as Chief Service Specialist, then was promoted to Division Director, and finished his career at NFPA as Assistant Vice President for Government Affairs. He left the NFPA in 1989, having successfully served the Fire Service for 42 years, first as a front line firefighter and completing his service as an advocate for national fire standards. In 1989 Joe and his wife Anne moved to North Carolina to live near their children and grandchildren. Not content to be retired, Joe became a volunteer for the Duke University Men’s Soccer Camp during his son-in-law’s tenure as Duke Soccer Coach, and, later, for the Triangle Futbol Club. He was devoted to his wife, his children, and his grandchildren and lived a life of service to his family, his community, and to God.
Joe was preceded in death by his wife Anne in 1998. He is survived by his son Michael Redden, daughter and son-in-law, Kathleen and John Rennie, son and daughter-in-law Christopher and Holly Redden, and grandchildren Theodore Rennie, Grace Rennie, David Redden, Benjamin Redden, and Hannah Redden.
The Mass of Christian Burial will be held Saturday, December 22nd at 11:00am at Immaculate Conception Church in Durham, with burial immediately following in Chapel Hill Memorial Cemetery. Visitation shall be from 6:00 – 8:00pm on Friday evening, December 21 at the Hall-Wynne Funeral Home in Durham.
Memorial donations to Duke Children’s Hospital, Office of Development, 512 South Mangum Street, Suite 400, Durham, NC 27701 or flowers, would be gratefully appreciated.
Arrangements for the Redden family are under the care of Hall-Wynne Funeral Service. Online condolences www.hallwynne.com