As a young boy, John Kline remembered his father, then Springettsbury Township Fire Co. Chief Glenn Kline, being awakened in the middle of the night for an emergency call by a chirping dispatcher radio in their home.
The elder Kline in turn woke his wife, told her what type of incident and how many firefighters were needed to respond before he left for the fire station. With that, she made a phone call to a firefighter who called then another firefighter and left for the station.
That chain went on until all the needed firefighters were en route to the call.
In the days before pagers, that was the way firefighters learned of emergency calls, John Kline said.
In his 52 years as a firefighter and chief, Glenn Kline saw a number of changes in the fire service and was instrumental in improving firefighting in York County.
"He was a progressive chief in his day," said Rick Shank, former chief of North York and Manchester Township fire departments.
Glenn Kline died Sunday, aged 83, after suffering Alzheimer's for a number of years.
School: Glenn Kline became a firefighter in 1943 as a volunteer with the Springettsbury Township Fire Co. and became its chief in 1971. He retired in 1995.
As more and more retail centers were built in the township, Glenn Kline saw to it that the fire company had an articulating aerial fire truck, also known as a snorkel, said John Senft, former York City fire chief.
The truck was needed so that if the now former York Mall, then the largest retail center in the county, were to have caught fire, the snorkel would more easily battle the flames, Senft said.
Glenn Kline was also part of a group of chiefs that lead a committee to create the modern day York County Fire School after a training tower in York City was torn down in 1960, said John Kline.
It took 18 years, but Kline saw the 1978 dedication of the school at 330 Emig Road in Manchester Township.
"The facility we have today certainly has Glenn Kline's fingerprint on it," Senft said.
Mentor: Both Shank and Senft recalled Glenn Kline as a man who took them under his wings when they were young chiefs.
At 19, Shank became fire chief of North York Fire Co. and Glenn Kline was there to give advice to the then-teenager. In 1982, Senft was named an assistant chief and Glenn Kline gave him, too, advice throughout his career.
"Early in my career and throughout my career, he was my friend and my mentor," Senft said, adding the Glenn Kline was a "warehouse of information."
Glenn Kline also influenced his son, who went on to become a career firefighter with Springettsbury Township. John Kline retired last year from the fire service after 33 years on the job.
But when he was working with his father, the two kept family out of firefighting, the younger Kline said.
"It was tough working for your dad. But we kept our family life out of the fire service," John Kline said. "When I started, he told me, 'When you get home, you're my son. When you're here, you're my firefighter.'"
Family man: In his free time, Glenn Kline lived to be outdoors.
He had a green thumb and enjoyed landscaping, installing garden ponds well before they became all the rage a few years ago.
He also served in the U.S Army during the Korean War but luckily wasn't sent overseas to fight, said Tyler Kline, Glenn Kline's grandson.
As a much younger man, Glenn Kline learned to fly small Piper Cub airplanes and flew out of the former York Valley Airway, situated on land that is now occupied by Wal-Mart at 2801 E. Market St.
"He (Glenn Kline) took pride in saying, 'I could fly a plane before I could drive a car,'" Tyler Kline said.
- Reach Greg Gross at firstname.lastname@example.org.