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Ex-Cornelius fire chief dies at home

Chris Asanovic served community 41 years, becoming chief in 1981


Chris Asanovic, longtime fire chief of the Cornelius Fire Department, passed away at his Cornelius home April 29.

Michael Kinkade, who serves as chief of both the Cornelius and Forest Grove fire departments, issued the following statement about the passing of “our beloved longtime chief.”

“It is with great sadness that I inform everyone that retired Cornelius Fire Chief Chris Asanovic died this morning at his home,” read Kinkade’s statement. “Chief Asanovic first started volunteering with the Cornelius Fire Department in November 1969. He joined on a Monday, and on Wednesday he was riding on a tailboard of a fire engine to a garage fire, hanging on for dear life. He had been given no training, had no idea what to expect, and a grizzled veteran rode next to him yelling ‘just do what I do’ as they tore down the street.

“He worked his way up the ranks. In 1981, he became the fire chief. He retired on Dec. 31, 2010, after 41 years of service with the Cornelius Fire Department. Our brother firefighter Chris was passionate about the fire service, his firefighters, and the community of Cornelius. He was our chief, our friend, and our brother, and we honor his service and friendship. Our hearts go out to his family, and especially his grandchildren, whom he adored. We shall miss his gentle gruffness and quiet humor.”

Kinkade said all firefighters in Forest Grove and Cornelius wore black mourning bands across their badges last week in honor of Chief Asanovic.

A funeral will be held Saturday, May 9, beginning at 11 a.m. at St. John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church in Beaverton, 14485 S.W. Walker Road. The family asks that in lieu of sending flowers, donations be made to the Western Washington County Firefighters Association.

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