Laughter was plentiful as the family of David Bricker Sr., former Seven Valleys fire chief, told stories of his life as they sat around a dinning room table Sunday in the home of one of his sons.
Known as a jokester, Bricker had a rule for friends and his sons when they hunted with him at the family's Huntingdon County cabin.
"If you missed your target you lost your shirttails," said David Bricker Jr., the elder Bricker's oldest son.
One of the rafters, now covered by plaster, in the cabin bore the fruits of the wasted bullets, and the shirttails likely remain nailed up.
David Bricker Sr. died Friday after a short battle with pancreatic cancer, said his wife, Linda Bricker. He was 66.
His family gathered at the home of his son, Bryan Bricker, and sorted through old photographs and talked of his life.
Fire Service: David Bricker Sr. became well known in Seven Valleys, where he was born and raised, as a man who helped the community.
He joined the Seven Valleys Community Fire Co. as a volunteer firefighter in the early 1970s and served as its fire chief from 1980 until 1993. He continued serving the department in the role of treasurer, a position he had long held, until he and Linda Bricker moved to the second incarnation of the cabin three years ago.
He also served as the caller at bingo at the station, daughter Heather Kutz said, and was known to record every penny the department made in a large old-fashioned ledger.
"He'd come home and sit down and count everything right down to the single cent," she said.
Extended family: Growing up the children of a firefighter meant Linda and David Bricker Sr.'s children had an extended family that included members of the department, Kurtz said.
It also meant helping at the station during fundraisers, including riding around on the back of a fire truck to drum up customers for the chicken barbecue dinners, she said.
"That was like a second home," Heather Bricker said. "That was the perk. Everyone down there was family."
Both David Bricker Jr. and Bryan Bricker joined the department for a few years, responding to calls as firefighters.
David Bricker Sr. was also a founding member of the Seven Valleys-based Tri-Community Ambulance Association and, along with Linda Bricker, volunteered with the association for a number of years.
Linda and David Bricker Sr. would have celebrated their 48th wedding anniversary this September. 'Rooster': In his younger days, David Bricker Sr. was a wrestler at Spring Grove High School where, despite his short, sub-100 pound stature, gained notoriety and the nickname "Rooster" because he wrestled like a banty rooster, Bryan Bricker said.
The name stuck and Twin Pines Farms in New Salem, where he worked after he retired as a safety director from Columbia Gas after 31 years, posted a sign honoring "Rooster" on Saturday. A number of fire companies also put up signs memorializing David Bricker Sr. since his death, Bryan Bricker said.
Linda Bricker said the tributes make her proud of her husband but also "make you cry."
David Bricker Sr. is also a U.S. Army veteran of the Vietnam War and was twice wounded in action, his family said.
A viewing for David Bricker Sr. will be held at the Seven Valleys Community Fire Co., 35 Main St., Tuesday from 5 to 8 p.m. Military rites by the York County Veterans Honor Guard will be held at 4:45 p.m. A funeral will be held at the convenience of the family.
Grandchildren: A number of David Bricker Sr.'s grandchildren are following in his footsteps and various ways.
Chase, 13, is a wrestler, and like his grandfather has a small frame. Branson, 14, is training to be a junior firefighter with Community Fire Co. in New Salem.
Like most grandfathers, David Bricker Sr. was devoted to his six grandchildren and was quick to give his oldest one, Mackenzie, 15, a driving lesson.
"He was a brave man. He took me driving in his truck," she said.
- Reach Greg Gross at email@example.com.