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Community mourns Okaloosa fire veteran Lloyd Losinger, who died of COVID-19 complications

Savannah Evanoff
Northwest Florida Daily News

NICEVILLE — Lloyd Losinger was the definition of what the public would want a firefighter to be.

He was loyal, respectful and respected, said Byron Bennett, chief of the North Bay Fire Control District. Losinger, a 30-year fire veteran, Niceville resident and fire inspection captain for Ocean City-Wright Fire Control District, died this past week of complications caused by COVID-19. He was formerly assistant fire chief for the North Bay Fire Control District.

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Losinger's family and friends, as well as the fire service community, will honor his memory with a Fire Apparatus Process and funeral service Saturday in Niceville.

Bennett said Losinger was the most loyal employee who has ever worked for him.

“He put his community’s needs above his own,” Bennett said. “He never, never questioned anything you asked him to do. So when it comes down to the loyalty and the integrity and the honor of the fire service, in my opinion, he was definitely the pinnacle of that.”

The Ocean City Wright Fire Control District has announced the passing of Fire Inspection Capt. Lloyd Losinger because of complications caused by COVID-19. Losinger was a loyal friend and co-worker, but more importantly a terrific husband, father and grandfather.

What Bennett liked about Losinger was that he never sugarcoated the truth, he said.

“He told you exactly how he felt, whether it was uncomfortable for him to talk about it,” Bennett said. “He was fair. And Lloyd came up in the fire service when it was run very paramilitary, so the rank and file under his leadership respected him in that manner. And he treated everyone the same no matter their gender, no matter their color. He treated everyone the same and he was very strong in his faith. And he wasn't ashamed to admit that.”

Three things ruled Losinger’s life, Bennett said.

“The good Lord, his family and the fire service — pretty much in that order,” Bennett said. “He had an open heart.”

Lloyd Losinger

Joseph Miller, the former fire chief at North Bay Fire Control District, said he knew Losinger for 25 years or so, his entire time there. Losinger took Miller under his wing when Miller started there as a volunteer in his mid-30s.

They became close friends during training and later acquired a Safety House together, which they took to schools and fire stations. Losinger encouraged him to excel, Miller said.

“He’s one of the big reasons I ended up becoming the chief there is his encouragement,” Miller said. “He was always there for other people. He was there for himself, but he mainly cared for other people more than himself, I really believe.”

He was very family-oriented, Miller said.

“Him and his family, they were constantly doing things for the community,” Miller said. “Even after he retired, he and his wife were still doing things for the community.”

Mark Bundrick, the Ocean City-Wright Fire Control District fire chief, said Losinger was devoted to his community and family.

“It’s a loss of a tremendous asset to our community,” Bundrick said. “As the fire chief, I always had that one guy that worked there that I could go to get some advice as far as inspections and things like that. Once he knew that I had his back, he was fiercely loyal to me and the department.”

After three decades of fire service, Bennett said he believes Losinger’s funeral service would have made him proud and will make the community proud.

“It'll be a very good showing of the brothers and sisters in the fire service that sit alongside of him,” Bennett said. “I think that it will be a very good service to honor him on Saturday.”

Lloyd Losinger (center) talks with another first responder at the Okaloosa County Emergency Operations Center.

Procession, funeral details

The Fire Apparatus Procession will begin at noon Jan. 16. The procession will run from Bayou Plaza at 935 John Sims Parkway, east on John Sims Parkway to Partin Drive (State Road 285), then north on Partin Drive to Heritage Gardens Cemetery at 2201 Partin Drive N.

The funeral is at 1 p.m. Jan. 16 at Heritage Gardens Cemetery in Niceville. Because of COVID-19, it will be an outside service at the burial site. Masks are required. Social distancing will be observed. 

The family has requested, in lieu of flowers, that donations be made to the Valparaiso First Church Children’s Ministry, 571 Valparaiso Parkway, Valparaiso.

Once apparatus are in place, space is available for fire personnel in the back parking lot of Rocky Bayou Baptist Church. Personnel will be directed to this location. For non-procession traffic, parking is available at Heritage Gardens Cemetery and Rocky Bayou Baptist Church next to the cemetery.

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