Retired Joplin Fire Chief dies at 90; Harry Guinn served JFD 42 years, 15 as Chief, retiring in 1995; Obituary and service details for Wednesday included

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JOPLIN, Mo. — Retired Joplin Fire Chief, William “Harry” Guinn passed away on June 1 at 90-years-old in Oklahoma City. Friends tell us he and his wife had recently located there to be near family.

Chief Guinn served the people of Joplin 42 years, working at the Joplin Fire Department from 1953 to 1995. He was fire chief from May 1981 to December 1995.

“He was my first fire chief.” Charles Copple, Joplin City Councilman and Joplin Fire Battalion Chief Ret., says, “It’s a great loss not only to the department, but for the community. He was very active even at 90 years old he was still very active. He knew what was going on he knew the pulse of what was happening in Joplin. He still provided quite a bit of input to that so the community is going to suffer a loss with him not being here anymore.”

Funeral services for Chief Guinn will be held Wednesday, June 9 at 10:30 at Park Plaza Christian Church in Joplin. They will hold a graveside service at 1 P.M. on Wednesday at Ozark Memorial Park Cemetery. There will be a fire truck procession to the cemetery as part of honoring Chief Guinn. He is survived by his wife Doris.


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REMEMBERING… – William Harry Guinn passed away on June 1, 2021 at the age of 90. He was surrounded by his family who bid him a peaceful transition with shared memories, laughter, embraces, tremendous love, and eve some jitterbug music for his last dance on earth – he was quite the dancer. While a young man, he had his eye on a pretty girl Doris Jean, and married her on their first date. He always proclaimed she was the most beautiful woman he ever saw, and just couldn’t do without her! They were lifelong residents of Joplin, Mo who recently moved to Oklahoma City to be with family. Harry was a past Fire Chief for Joplin with 42 years of Service Harry was a 50 year Mason, a member of York Rite, and a 33rd degree Scottish Rite Mason in Joplin.

Harry spent his entire career in Joplin with the exception of one year in Idaho where he worked in a coal mine during a lay off from the Joplin Fire Department. That was a hard year for he and Doris, but devoted faith and some occasional bear meat kept them strong and encouraged. Back in Joplin, Harry held every position available in the department from entry to eventually becoming Fire Chief the last 15 years of service. Harry worked many second jobs (like most firemen early in their careers), notably as the Civil Defense Director, a Charter member for the Southwest Safety Engineers, 911 Board member, adjunct instructor for the R-8 school district, and was on the board of the Joplin Association of the Blind.

Harry’s many passions foremost were his love for the Lord, his family, and his church. He especially loved sharing his passion for hunting and fishing with his family and avidly pursued those opportunities. He hunted his last deer season just six months ago with success and was looking forward to it again this year. Spending time with family and friends was his priority. He was a dedicated and beloved member in in all his churches and the Masonic Lodge. He taught Bible studies and mentored many young Masons. His greatest joy was raising his two sons, Nick and John, with Doris. The memories of growing up in Joplin, visiting Harry at the Fire Station, climbing on the fire trucks and sliding down the fire poles will forever be dearly cherished by the family.

Harry is survived by his wife of 68 years, Doris Jean Guinn; Brother Don Mitchell and his wife Linda; sisters; Janna Eikel and Martha Mosley; sons William Harry “Nick” Guinn Jr. and his wife Mitzi of Oklahoma City, OK; and John Robert Guinn and his wife Kandy Jo of Norman, OK; seven grandchildren and nine great grandchildren. Funeral services will be Wednesday June 9, at Park Plaza Christian Church, 3220 Indiana Ave, Joplin, Mo, with internment to follow at Ozark Memorial Park Cemetery, 415 N. St. Louis Ave.

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