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Celebration of Life Held for Retired Redding Fire Battalion Chief

Published On: Feb 24 2013 10:29:36 PM CST   Updated On: Feb 25 2013 12:03:12 AM CST
REDDING, Calif. -

A celebration of life was held for a well-known retired Redding Fire Battalion Chief who unexpectedly passed away.

Neal Warner died at 57-years-old after a heart-attack on Saturday, February 16th.

More than a hundred family members, friends and fellow firefighters gathered Sunday afternoon at the Red Lion Hotel in Redding to honor Warner, the same day that would have been his 58th birthday.

Warner worked for the Redding Fire Department for 28 years. He retired in 2005.  

A handful of family and friends shared memories of their times with Warner.

"I would do anything to have Neal here right now, close talking, telling a funny story, maybe a new one, maybe an old one, maybe one we've heard a thousand times,all Hollywooded up," friend and current Redding Fire Battalion Chief Cullen Krieder said. 

Through the various speakers, there was a common theme: that Warner was a fun, outgoing and loving man who cared so much for his loved ones.

After retirement, Warner and his wife of 37 years, Debbie, moved to Mount Shasta.

Each person said, even though Warner was taken far too early, he still lived a great life, full of love and adventure.

"I know he was able to squeeze every ounce of life he could in the short time that he was here with us," friend and Retired Redding Fire Deputy Fire Chief John Kaylor said.

The service ended with what they called Warner's last alarm. It symbolizes a task complete.

"I think Neal's life ended exactly where he wanted to be living a happy, stress-less, fulfilled life on a snow covered mountain in God's country," Warner's longtime friend Mike Hoover said.    

Warner is survived by his wife, Debbie of 37 years, his son Cole, daughter and son-in-law, Danielle and Bill Gellor and two grand-daughters, along with several other family members and friends.