Fire chief's dedication built top-notch company

| Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2012

John Haschke spent more than six decades with the Berkeley Hills Fire Company, serving the people of northeastern Ross.

“His boots were always at the ready by the front door so when that siren went off he just had to run down the hall, put on those boots, pull the suspenders up and (go) out the door,” said his daughter, Terry L. Studenny of Broken Arrow, Okla. “My mom remembers my dad carrying a man down from the second floor on the outside ladder and saving his life.”

John C. Haschke of Ross died Saturday, Oct. 6, 2012, in UPMC Passavant in McCandless of heart failure. He was 88.

He was born Nov. 10, 1923, in Lewistown, Mont., to Henry Haschke, a butcher, and his wife, Jennie, a homemaker.

He served in the Army as a platoon sergeant during World War II, fighting with the 102nd Infantry Division across Central Europe until it met Russian troops in Germany. He won two Bronze Stars.

Mr. Haschke met his wife, Marian, at what was then Muskingum College in Ohio. They were married 68 years.

He was an assistant vice president of the First Federal Savings and Loan Association of Pittsburgh, but his first love was the fire department that his father-in-law helped found. He joined the company in 1948 and was chief from 1954 to 1986. He left as chief emeritus.

Jeffrey Carpenter, president of the fire company, said Mr. Haschke helped mentor him for six months before his departure.

“He commanded respect, but he believed strongly in mentoring and training those beneath him,” Carpenter said. “He was very dedicated to the fire service. He used the most modern techniques and tools available to do the job safely.”

Carpenter praised Mr. Haschke's pioneering work in encouraging the adoption of building code standards to improve fire safety. Those rules include requirements to use smoke detectors and sprinklers in buildings of a certain size.

“That's now pretty standard in all of our municipalities, but in the 1960s, that wasn't standard,” he said.

In addition to his daughter and wife, Mr. Haschke is survived by his son, Brian of Gibsonia, and two grandchildren. He was preceded in death by a son, John.

Services and interment were private.

Bill Zlatos is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7828 or

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