Community comes together at Woodlawn Cemetery to pay last respects to city of Zanesville’s first black firefighter

Local News

ZANESVILLE – Gabriel Weatherspoon passed away on Sunday at the age of 89. He was also a veteran as he served in the Korean War as part of the tank crew after his graduation from high school. Weatherspoon was very much a trail blazer as he broke the color barrier in the Fire Department with grace and a positive attitude every step of the way.

“Gabe never had a negative thing to say about anybody. He was that personality that if Gabe was somewhere, he didn’t have to call you over. People were just drawn to him. he had many great stories but he always had questions for you. He wanted to know how you were doing. He would always go to our younger guys and he’d thank them for continuing to work to make sure they were paying into his pension so he got his check every day of the month and he’d laugh about it,” Zanesville Fire Chief Jeff Bell said.

Bell says the impact Weatherspoon left on the ZFD as well as everybody who knew him will be long lasting.

“I think as long as we can share the stories and that’s one thing, you know, to see the number of retired firefighters who came out here to honor him, the number of firefighters, you know, from adjoining township fire departments and just people that knew him that turned out – Gabe is going to be around because his stories will always be around,” Bell said.

Weatherspoon is survived by his wife as well as four children, seven grandchildren, and fourteen great grandchildren.

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