By Fred Stabbert III
JEFFERSONVILLE One of the most familiar faces in Jeffersonville Don “Pop” Hauschild, died on Saturday, September 17, 2011 following a battle with cancer.
But his legacy, laughter and love for his community will live on forever, according to his many friends throughout Jeffersonville and Sullivan County.
“He was the best… Pops,” Jeffersonville Village Mayor Ed Justus said. “Don probably single-handedly did more for the village than anybody I know.”
Justus, who happens to own his family business, Justus Auto, right next door to the Hauschilds’ home, said Pops did it all.
“From getting people’s mail, cutting grass, shoveling sidewalks,” Justus said. “He will be missed by a lot of people.”
Sullivan County Public Safety Commissioner Dick Martinkovic agreed.
“Pop Hauschild was one of the most dedicated volunteer firemen in Sullivan County. He was a great supporter of the Jeffersonville district and all of Sullivan County,” he said.
Martinkovic recalled Hauschild’s strong involvement with the Sullivan County Volunteer Firefighters Assn. (SCVFA).
“He always represented himself and the interests of Sullivan County in attending the firemen’s meetings,” Martinkovic said. “He was the most level-headed man I ever dealt with and always addressed the issues with fairness and respect.”
Martinkovic said Hauschild had two families his wife Barbara, sons John and William and grandchildren plus the fire service.
Hauschild was a member of the Protection Hose Co. No. 1 in Jeffersonville for 56 years, including its past chief, past president and past vice-president. He was also heavily involved with the SCVFA and Hudson Valley Firemen’s Assn.
“His family was extended,” Martinkovic said. “And they both worked hard to bring out the best in their community. He did so much good and we will all really miss his leadership.
“He also loved his vanilla ice cream,” Martinkovic said. “May he always have a dish at his plate.”
David Bodenstein, a member of Protection Hose Co. No. 1 along with Hauschild, said, “He was a really, really good guy.”
The stories about Don around the firehouse were legendary, from the bowling team to helping to train young firefighters.
“When I first got in (the fire service) we used to meet at the firehouse every Sunday when there was a pancake breakfast at another department and be the first ones served,” Bodenstein said. “That meant getting up at 6 a.m. on Sunday to meet Don, the ringleader of the group, at 6:30.
“Well, when you didn’t get in until early morning, some of us were just getting home,” Bodenstein laughed. “But Don, he got up at 4:30 every morning.”
Bodenstein said Don’s guiding hand on the Jeff Fire Dept. will be sorely missed.
“He attended his last call about two weeks ago,” he said. “He didn’t go out but he sure wanted to know what happened.
“He was always there, that’s just the way he was,” Bodenstein said.
Susie Hemmer, former Jeffersonville Mayor and close family friend, also had fond memories of Pops.
Hemmer remembered Pops and his wife, Barbara, always attending her Christmas party at her Chapel Ave. home.
“He would never let any women in the dessert room,” she said. “He was such a great person for the village. I drove through there this morning and I couldn’t believe he was gone. My heart is broken.”