FREDERICK A. MEHLING JR. Age 65, passed away at his residence on April 16, 2010, after a 12-month-long aggressive and brave battle with esophageal cancer.
Rick was born on October 22, 1944 in Rock Island, Illinois to Frederick and Marjorie Mehling. He was the eldest of his two siblings, Sally Mehling Becker and Chris Mehling. His family moved to Burbank in 1953 and he resided in Burbank until he married in 1969. Rick began his distinguished career with the Burbank Fire Department on July 5, 1966, where he held every rank from firefighter up to and including Fire Chief. He retired as Fire Chief on June 30, 2005.
Rick was Fireman of the Year in 1983, presented the Protectors of the Public Award in 1987 and held many honors during his career. He was a member of both the California Fire Chief Association and the Los Angeles Area Fire Chief Association. He was also a member of Burbank Firefighters Local 778. His first 'job' when he retired was serving on the Civil Grand Jury from 2001- 2002.
Rick was a board member and volunteer for Firefighter's Quest for Burn Survivors. His job was helping burn survivors obtain the medical supplies, treatments and a variety of services they needed but could not afford. A member of the Air National Guard since he was 17, Rick was called to active duty for the United States Air Force in December, 1968 and was stationed at Lackland AFB in Texas. While home on leave in late February, 1969, Rick and Betty got married, even though they would be separated while Betty stayed in California to complete her education. Rick returned to get her in June after her graduation and they lived in San Antonio until his discharge in Sept. 1970. (By the way, Rick married Betty just six months after they met - then, a student at Valley State College on a Journalism internship at the Valley News and Greensheet (now The Daily News) covering the Fire beat. The rest is a 41-year-old history.)
In 1972, they moved to Calabasas and have lived there since. In 1974 the y became the parents of Michael Benjamin Mehling, who now resides in Irvine with his wife Holly, and sons Tedd (20) and baby Miles, born on Election Day 2008.
In memory of Rick (and in lieu of flowers) contributions may be made to:Firefighters Quest for Burn Survivors: 1146 N. Central Ave. #398, Glendale, CA 91202-2506. A Memorial honoring Rick Mehling's life is scheduled for 10:30 AM, Sunday, May 23, 2010 at the Burbank Fire Dept. Training Center at 1845 N. Ontario, Burbank, 91505. Arrangements a re under the direction of Eternal Valley Memorial Park Mortuary Directors (661) 259-0800 http://www.eternalvalleymemorialparkmortuary.com/
Published in Los Angeles Daily News on April 25, 2010