Gurnee, IL - The Village of Gurnee staff, elected officials and fellow firefighters are mourning the loss of Retired Gurnee Fire Department Fire Chief Samuel Dada, Jr who passed away January 15, 2021. Chief Dada was a devoted man to his family and community.
Chief Dada followed in his father’s footsteps when he joined the Gurnee Fire Department as a volunteer firefighter in February 1948 and served as the Fire Chief from 1954 till his retirement in 1989. Chief Dada wore numerous caps in his tenure with the Village of Gurnee, amongst those titles were: Superintendent of Public Works, Building Commissioner, Firefighter, Assistant Fire Chief and finally Fire Chief. Sam was instrumental in assertively laying the foundation of the Gurnee Volunteer Brigade to move the organization into the full time career profession the department is today. He also served on the Executive Boards of the Northeastern Illinois Fire Chiefs Association, Lake County Fire Chief’s Association, and as a Director of the Illinois Fire Chiefs Association for 2 two-year terms. He was an active member of the Metropolitan Fire Chiefs Association; International Association of Fire Chiefs; and served on the Illinois Fire Chiefs Radio Frequency committee.
Chief Dada, a pioneer for the Gurnee Fire Department, was a leader and mentor to all that joined the Department under his tenure. “As a man of integrity, he upheld this attribute throughout his career and beyond. He was a true servant of the community. The fire service, and the men and women of the Gurnee Fire Department, lost a great leader and friend,” said Gurnee Fire Chief John Kavanagh. After his retirement, Chief Dada spent many hours visiting the Department enjoying a cup of coffee around the kitchen table making sure the legacy and history of the Gurnee Fire Department lived on to the next generation of firefighters. “Chief Dada laid the foundation for the Gurnee Fire Department to be what it is today. He loved Gurnee and carried on traditions by telling the best stories about Old Gurnee,” said Mayor Kovarik. On behalf of the staff, elected officials and all members of the Gurnee Fire Department, we extend our heartfelt condolences to the entire Dada family.