Former Williamsburg Fire Chief James Privett is being remembered as a hard worker, who loved the town that he served during 35 years of work at the fire department, including more than 20 years as fire chief.
“I love him. The people of this town love him. He did such a great job as chief because he loved the town. It wasn’t work to him to go into work that means a lot. You don’t have that much any more. To do what we do in the city, you have to love the city. He epitomizes why we say it feels like home. He is going to be missed,” noted Williamsburg Mayor Roddy Harrison.
Privett, 63, passed away Thursday at his home following a relatively short battle with cancer.
Funeral services were held Sunday afternoon at Ellison Funeral Home with Rev. Doyle Lester officiating. Interment followed in the Jellico Creek Cemetery.
Privett took over as fire chief in May 1995, and retired on July 29, 2016.
In a 2016 interview about one month before he retired, Privett said there were a few things he was most proud of during his tenure as fire chief.
One of those things at the top of the list was lowering the city’s ISO rating from Class 6 down to Class 5, which had a direct effect of lowering fire insurance rates for Williamsburg residents.
“It is a big accomplishment whenever you can do something like that,” he noted.
Current Williamsburg Fire Chief Larry Todd, who replaced Privett as fire chief, noted that his old boss would be missed.
“He was a good old soul. He was a good chief,” Todd noted. “He may have been quiet at times, but he meant business.”
Whitley Circuit Court Clerk Gary Barton noted that he worked with Privett for many years on fire suppression systems for the Whitley County Judicial Center.
Privett also served as a part-time employee for Barton’s office for 18 years filling out emergency protective orders (EPO’s) after regular business hours and on weekends.
“James was always great about helping people and doing those. He was just a good man and helped me a lot through the years. We were good friends. He will be missed by the community,” Barton added.
For complete obituary information see page A-9 in this week’s edition of the News Journal.