Fire Apparatus Icon's Legacy Honored at FDIC

Bob Barraclough's impact on the fire apparatus industry has been well chronicled, but the impact he had on people might have been even stronger.

A who's who of the fire service packed a memorial service Wednesday evening at FDIC to honor his legacy that spanned more than 50 years.

Barraclough died at the age of 70 at his home in Plano, Texas on Jan. 21 after a period of declining health.

"He thought the world of you," Betts Barraclough, Bob's wife, told those in attendance, "He loved and respected each and every one of you."

She talked about his love for Penn State football, sailing, air shows and fixing things.

"He was a very lovable man and very confident in his abilities," she said. "He always felt privileged to work and play in an industry he loved."

Alan Saulsbury, a fellow fire apparatus consultant who spoke jointly with Barraclough at conferences big and small throughout the country, said his colleague was more than a friend.

"He was my mentor, my hero, my teacher. He was my second brother," he said. "I attended hundreds of conferences with him over the years. I've been a pretty lonely guy the last couple of months."

He said that Barraclough's gift was his ability to make people feel special.

"He made the little people feel like big people. He made the small companies feel like big ones."

Bill Ballentyne, president of Pyrolance and former president of FAMA, said Barraclough was tough not to love.

"Even if you were a competitor, Bob was always your friend," he said. "He was the master of bringing people together."

Attorney Jim Juneau recalled a big case he was working in the mid-1980s in which he represented an apparatus manufacturer. This was one of his first cases involving fire trucks and he admitted that he had a lot to learn.

He was introduced to Barraclough, and like so many others, made a friend for life.

"He didn't know me from Adam and we sat and talked for hours," he said. "He helped me for weeks and we won the case because of him."

"It was classic Bob. He didn't ask for anything in return and he didn't expect it.

"Bob's gone, now, but wow, what a legacy he's left behind. It's really a challenge to those of us left behind to give something back toward the enrichment of others."