West Ada

‘We have the watch’: Meridian says goodbye to first full-time firefighter

Raymond “Skip” Voss, 73.
Raymond “Skip” Voss, 73.

By friends’ accounts, Raymond Voss, 73, was among those lucky enough to find their passions in life. His included fighting fires and serving Meridian, his hometown.

After spending five years in the Navy, Voss returned home. He worked at the family business, Meridian Plumbing, then in 1969, became a volunteer firefighter. He began serving at a time when the then-rural community had just a couple thousand residents and many fire calls had to do with haystacks in flames.

Voss, whom friends and family called “Skip,” died on Aug. 11.

“He loved this city,” said Kenny Bowers, Meridian fire inspector who served with Voss for decades. “He loved his work, he loved fighting fires.”

The city hired Voss as its first full-time paid firefighter in 1976. He rose through the ranks to become fire marshal. During his time with the department, he started many programs to benefit the city, said Bowers, including inspection programs for businesses and day cares. He retired in 2000.

Voss, said Bowers, was “a character,” noted for a good sense of humor around the firehouse. Among his pranks: switching his fellow firefighters’ gear.

“You’d see these big guys struggling to put on uniforms that were too small,” said Bowers. Voss liked to light off firecrackers as pranks, “in a way you couldn’t do today,” said Bowers. He was a fan of NASCAR races and was a member of the Ten Mile Community Church.

Meridian City Council President Keith Bird, who also grew up in Meridian, said, “Skip really gave back to the community. He’d do anything for Meridian. He was a mighty fine person.”

Voss is survived by his wife, Joyce; their daughter, Anne; and his siblings, Carlene and Howard.

A well-attended memorial service for Voss took place Wednesday. Ada County dispatch sent out a “last alarm” for him Wednesday morning: “On behalf of the citizens of Meridian, we thank you for your service. Marshal Voss, rest in peace knowing we have the watch.”

The Ten Mile Community Church Food Pantry, 4440 Columbia Road in Meridian, is accepting donations in Voss’ name, 208-362-2620.