A Chicago firefighter who died of a heart attack after returning from a fire was memorialized Wednesday.
Friends, family, co-workers and dignataries attended the funeral for 61-year-old Walter Patmon Jr. at the Apostolic Church of God.
Patmon died last week after returning from a call to put out a small cooking fire on 99th Street. Chicago Fire Commissioner Jose Santiago said he was cleaning his gear when he started not feeling well. He was transferred to the hospital and went into cardiac arrest.
"He was one of those guys that everybody just seemed to love, sort of like a teddy bear or something. You just fell in love with him,"
, which was held before the funeral.
"For the last 10 years, every morning prior to getting off work, Walter and I, we shared a cup of coffee and a cigarette. We solved all the problems of the fire department, all the problems of the world, and then we went home. Since he passed, I haven't had a cup of coffee or a cigarette."
The 18-year veteran leaves behind a wife and three daughters. His daughters spoke at the service and lovingly recounted how their dad had a 6-step system for going to the movies.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel also spoke at the funeral service.
"There's a hole in our city today. It's not complete," Emanuel told the Patmon family from the podium. "Thank you for giving us Walter and letting him be a part of our lives."
Patmon had worked at the 95th Street firehouse for the last 11 years. The firehouse lowered its flag to half-staff in his honor.
"He's going to be missed," said firefighter Michael Griffin. "He was a steady guy, had a nice demeanor, known for his cooking. He used to be the barbecue champ."