James Broockerd, Overland Park’s first paid fire chief, dies at 91

Fire-Chief_DiesThe Overland Park Fire Department today is recognizing the contributions James Broockerd, the man largely credited with the formation of the OPFD as we know it today. Broockerd died at the age of 91 at Shawnee Mission Health on Monday.

A veteran of the 20th Air Force in World War II, Broockerd served in the Pacific theatre. When he returned from the military, he joined the Overland Park fire department as a volunteer back in 1950, working his way up to become the city’s first paid fire chief in 1962. Broockerd served as the department’s highest officer until his retirement in 1987.

“He was a legend. Chief Broockerd had a strong personality and great vision,” current Overland Park Fire Chief Bryan Dehner said. “He was a firefighter’s firefighter and a public servant to the end.”

The Overland Park Fire Department produced the video below giving an overview of Broockerd’s accomplishments to coincide with the renaming of a station in his honor in 2009:

Broockerd’s wife Leita preceded him in death. He is survived by his sons Larry and Rollie Broockerd and their families. A visitation will be held from 6-8 p.m. Friday at Queen of the Holy Rosary Catholic Church, 7023 W. 71st Street. Mass of burial will be held at the church Saturday, followed by burial in Antioch Pioneer Cemetery in Merriam.