April 30, 2013
Always involved, always on call
Cortlandville Fire Dept. remembers 31-year member who died Monday
CORTLANDVILLE — Cortlandville firefighter Carlton M. Hart, known for his dedication and reliability over the years, is remembered by fire officials as a role model and father figure.
Hart, a captain of the Cortlandville Fire Department and president of the department’s Frank Taylor Fire Co., died Monday at Cortland Regional Nursing Facility, at the age of 79.
“This is a man who was like a father to me — to our entire department,” said Kevin Whitney, a Cortland County legislator and a past Cortlandville fire chief and county deputy fire coordinator.
Described as a no-nonsense, tell-it-like-it-is kind of guy, Hart was a member of the Cortlandville Fire Department for over 31 years.
“When I say Hart was always around for fire service, I mean he was always involved and always on call,” Cortlandville Fire Chief Gerald Henry said.
Having joined the department in 1982, Hart earned respect and admiration from his fellow crew.
“When I first joined the department back in 1987, there were only three guys: Carl Hart, Jack Harvey and Guy Post Jr.,” Whitney said.
“At the time, I was only an explorer and Hart would take the young guys under his wing.”
When Whitney was promoted to captain in 1991, he added that Hart was the first person he would look to on every call.
“He was just so smart and experienced,” Whitney said. “When a call came through, I would not have to say a word to him, we would just look at each other and know what would have to be done.”
Hart was twice honored with the department’s Frank Taylor Memorial Firefighter of the Year award in 1986 and 2010; Member of the Year award in 1995 and 2004; Fire Police of the Year award 1996, 1998, 2003 and 2006; and Driver of the Year award in 1991.
A room within the Cortlandville Fire Department was also named after Hart in 1999.
He was always involved on the ground during calls and was considered the most reliable driver within the department, fellow firefighters said.
“We will never forget what he did for the department and the community,” Whitney said. “It is tough for us now, knowing he will not be here.”
Hart is survived by his wife of 18 years, Deborah Emery Hart, and his six children, David, Brian, Scott, Jeffrey, Kem and Heidi; three stepchildren, Carl, Charles and Carla; and was predeceased by his son, Carl Jr., siblings and his parents.
An honor guard will be present during calling hours from 4 to 7 p.m. Thursday at the Wright-Beard Funeral Home at 9 Lincoln Ave. in Cortland.
Full honors services will be held at 11 a.m. on Friday at the Wright-Beard Funeral Home, with interment following at Willow Glen Cemetery in Dryden.
In remembrance of Hart, memorial contributions will be collected through the Cortlandville Fire Department at 999 Route 13, Cortland, NY 13045.
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