Thomas C. Elvins III, 88, longtime volunteer firefighter

Thomas C. Elvins III was a volunteer firefighter in Hammonton, N.J., for more than 60 years.
Thomas C. Elvins III was a volunteer firefighter in Hammonton, N.J., for more than 60 years.
Posted: August 12, 2012

Thomas C. Elvins III, 88, a volunteer firefighter in his hometown of Hammonton, N.J., for more than 60 years, died Friday, July 27, at AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center in Atlantic City after being injured in a July 13 car accident in Egg Harbor Township.

Mr. Elvins was born in Hammonton, graduated in 1941 from Hammonton High School, and worked on his father's fruit farm before serving in the Navy from 1942 to 1946, mostly as a shipboard turret gunner in the South Pacific.

He was a member of Operating Engineers Local 825 for more than 60 years, driving bulldozers and road graders on jobs across South Jersey, his daughter, Bonnie Lou Petruzzo, said in an interview.

"He helped build Routes 70 and 73, the [Atlantic City] Expressway, and parts of I-295," she said.

Outside of his family, she said, the constant in his life was the Hammonton Independent Volunteer Fire Company. He was the fourth generation of his family to serve with the company.

"Last year the firemen gave him a roast" to recognize his long service with the outfit, his daughter said.

"He also has a fire engine dedicated to him, which has a plaque on it with his name," at the Hammonton firehouse.

Among other tokens of affection, she said, "they honored him with a special ax and fire helmet."

Joseph P. Lizza, secretary of the Hammonton company, wrote in an e-mail appreciation of Mr. Elvins that "he would joke that he had held every rank in the firehouse except for chief, serving in the position of assistant chief three times."

Besides his daughter, Mr. Elvins is survived by his wife, Dorothy; a son, Thomas C. Elvins Jr.; four grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.

A visitation is set from 9 to 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 11, at the Hammonton Independent Volunteer Fire Company, 51 N. White Horse Pike, followed at 11 a.m. by a Funeral Mass at St. Mary of Mount Carmel Church, Third and French Streets, Hammonton.


Contact Walter F. Naedele at 215-854-5607 or wnaedele@phillynews.com.

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