Bravery underlay fire captain's humor
By Christina Gallagher
Published: Tuesday, July 16, 2013, 11:39 p.m.
Richard Gorman dashed into burning buildings for more than 30 years as a Pittsburgh firefighter — a serious job that seemed at odds with his playful demeanor.
“He was a riot,” his daughter-in-law Debra Gorman said. “You never knew what was coming out of his mouth.”
Mr. Gorman of Morningside died on Sunday, July 14, 2013, in UPMC Shadyside after suffering a stroke. He was 66.
Mr. Gorman served as a city firefighter for three decades, rising to the rank of captain.
He responded to many tough calls, including a 2004 blaze at Ebenezer Baptist Church in the Hill District that killed two firefighters and injured 29, said his daughter, Dana Gorman, of Morningside.
“My dad was always in the building. He wasn't one to stand outside,” Dana Gorman said.
“He always went in the fire, no matter how dangerous it was.”
Mr. Gorman traveled to schools to promote fire safety, often dressing up as a dog to entertain students. He enjoyed bringing his grandchildren to the station to let them see the fire trucks.
A serious man at fire scenes, Mr. Gorman loved to joke around in the firehouse and the kitchen where he cooked for other firefighters, said friend and fellow firefighter John Misencik of Shaler.
“He would give you the last dollar he had and the shirt off his back,” Misencik said. “He would do anything for you.”
Mr. Gorman served in the Navy during the Vietnam War, living on a ship for several years, Dana Gorman said.
He raised a family in Morningside, growing apple and pear trees at home. After retiring, he spent time cooking homemade soup and baking pies for family and friends and taking care of his grandchildren.
Mr. Gorman requested to be buried with the ashes of his beloved pit bull Roscoe. Mr. Gorman had several pit bulls but favored Roscoe so much that he took him to bars around town and ordered him drinks.
“Roscoe rode everywhere with my dad,” Dana Gorman said. “He went to the bars and had his drinks, his beef jerky and then he would go to sleep.”
In addition to his daughter, Dana, Mr. Gorman is survived by his son, Christopher Gorman of Hampton; sisters Patricia Ames of Gibsonia and Colleen Welsh of Wexford; and five grandchildren.
Friends will be received from 2 to 8 p.m. Wednesday in McCabe Brothers Inc. Funeral Home, 5300 Penn Ave., Bloomfield. A funeral will begin at9 a.m. Thursday. A Mass of Christian burial will be celebrated at 10 a.m. in St. Maria Goretti Church, Penn Campus, 5323 Penn Ave. Interment will be private.
Christina Gallagher is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.
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