Custer Fire Chief was one of the best

October 15, 2013
Chief Allison

Chief John Allison

By Rob Alway. Editor-in-Chief.

One of Mason County’s bravest passed away Monday night. Custer Fire Chief John Allison is being remembered this morning as one of the best of the best. The 51-year-old Custer Township resident had an apparent cardiac “incident” on October 8. Since that time, he had been at a Grand Rapids hospital.

See previous story here.

Custer firefighter Justin Melchert said many of the department members are still in shock this morning after hearing the news of their chief’s passing. “He was a great person,” Melchert said. “He had a heart of gold and would do anything for anybody. He was always there to lend a helping hand. Of course, he was a great fire chief and firefighter too.”

Scottville Fire Chief Dale Larr said Allison was one of the best.

“John was a great all around guy,” Larr said. “He was good at making quick but safe decisions at fires. He didn’t just jump in without looking around first. He was a good mentor to all the new firefighters. He was also a good friend.”

John and his wife, Tammy, lived and worked on the family farm in Custer Township.

Mason County Sheriff Kim Cole said Allison will be hard to replace.

“He was not only a great fire chief but a great friend whose goal was to make Custer Township and the surrounding area his department covered as safe as possible.

“John was helping the sheriff’s department with a project to assure we had the highest level of security and safety for the students at Mason County Eastern,” Cole said. “Following the tragic events at Sandy Hook Elementary, John and I spoke often about our concerns regarding school safety. John called me the day of the Sandy Hook shooting and voiced his concerns for safety and security for our county’s children. The tone of his voice was one of determination and he has worked endlessly to provide that high level of protection to the children throughout our county. His shoes will be difficult to fill.”

Grant Township Fire Chief Ron Melchert echoed the sentiments about Allison, noting he was a very easy person to get along with.

Funeral information is not yet available.


On a personal note, I have known John Allison for the past 25 years, working with him as a journalist and as a fellow firefighter. He was always a person, no matter the occasion, would make an effort to come over and have a conversation. He always smiled. Even when dealing with the most tragic of circumstances, John would never let it show. He was a true leader to this community. I will miss him dearly.


Eats & Drinks

Eats & Drinks

Area Churches