Miles Richard Bowers' first job as a firefighter in 1948 was to help tackle one of Jacksonville's worst fires at a paint factory.
One of his last jobs was in 2003 when he was named the city's fire chief for the second time. He had previously led the department from 1984 to 1988.
Bowers, who served longer than any other firefighter on the force, died Tuesday after a stroke. He was 91.
His son, Rick Bowers, became a firefighter like his father and remembers how "everyone who knew him, loved him."
"But he loved the fire department. It was not just a job, it was a passion," his son said. "He wanted to serve. He wanted to make it better. ... He even invented a few tools when he was in the shop to make things easier. He ate, lived and breathed fire department."