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Faith, unity sustained Luceys.

Byline: Danielle M. Horn

SPENCER - Jeremiah M. Lucey was doing yard work on a recent fall day, tending to the property that his beloved son encouraged him to buy years ago.

Inside the home, his wife of 51 years, Bridget, was cleaning her oven.

"People are very careful around us," Mr. Lucey said. "They think we won't want to talk about Jerry. But we have always loved to talk about him. We have great memories of him."

The Luceys said family and faith pulled them through the heartbreak of losing their only son, Jeremiah M. Lucey, in the Worcester Cold Storage and Warehouse Co. fire 10 Decembers ago. Their living room is full of family pictures, including some from a trip to Ireland with their son and daughter, Noreen, six months before the fatal fire. Framed photos in the kitchen are almost exclusively of the younger Jeremiah and the five comrades who perished with him.

For the most part, the couple spoke with ease about their son, of whom they are undeniably proud. Mr. Lucey's voice cracked only when recalling the last time he saw his namesake, at Thanksgiving dinner in 1999, a week before the fire.

"From day one, we were not angry," Mr. Lucey said. "A lot of people are when there is an unexpected death and that doesn't help a bit. He wasn't a grumbler and we figured since he was gone, we wouldn't be grumbling either."

The Luceys are thankful for support that came from all over the country after the tragedy. Mr. Lucey has read most of the book written about the event, but dislikes its "swear words." Their son didn't use those words, "at least not with us," he said, laughing.

Ultimately, it is their daughter, daughter-in-law, grandchildren and church that have brought them to the comfortable place they are today.

"Michelle has done a wonderful job with those boys," Mrs. Lucey said of her daughter-in-law and two grandsons, Jeremiah III, 21, and John, 18, who live in Leicester. Jeremiah III is planning on becoming a firefighter, while John, a high school senior, may join the military.

As the anniversary of their son's death approaches, the Luceys plan to attend memorial services, as they have every year.

"We're fine," Mrs. Lucey said. "We do our everyday things. But the loss never goes away."

Jeremiah M. Lucey

Firefighter Lucey, 38, of Leicester, who grew up in Worcester, had been a member of the department for eight years. He served with the rescue squad at the Central Street Fire Station, and with the state hazardous materials removal team.

He also worked at the Massachusetts Firefighting Academy in Stow and was always eager and willing to offer assistance.

"He was a firefighter's firefighter,'' a colleague, Firefighter Paul R. LaRochelle, said in the days after the fire. "He's a guy you could count on in all aspects."

ART: PHOTO

CUTLINE: Bridget and Jeremiah M. Lucey are thankful for the support they received after the fire.

PHOTOG: T&G Staff/RICK CINCLAIR
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Publication:Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
Date:Nov 29, 2009
Words:503
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