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Former Stanford fire chief Frank Jurian dies at 70

STANFORD -- Frank Andrew Jurian, the former chief of the Stanford Fire Department, died Monday, July 10, at his campus home after a 15-month battle with cancer. He was 70.

A rosary and memorial service will be held at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, July 13, at the Roller & Hapgood & Tinney Funeral Home at 980 Middlefield Road in Palo Alto. A funeral mass will be said at 10 a.m. Friday, July 14, at Our Lady of the Wayside Church in Portola Valley. Burial services will follow at Holy Cross Cemetery in Menlo Park.

Jurian worked for Stanford for 45 years. In 1946, at the age of 20, he became one of only four full-time firefighters. By 1948 he had made the rank of captain, and in 1961 was appointed assistant chief.

He was named chief in 1970 and supervised more than 75 full- and part-time firefighters. In addition to battling many notable campus fires, Jurian also was responsible for adding a department substation at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center.

Jurian was instrumental in the development of the student firefighter program, which helped more than 1,000 students work their way through Stanford by serving with the department. During the 1972 fire that gutted Encina Hall, he commanded more than 250 firefighters in what was then the largest mutual aid firefighting effort in the history of Santa Clara County.

In a 1990 interview, Jurian recalled the Encina Hall blaze as the most dramatic of his career. He was proud to point out that no firefighters were injured during the evening fire, which caused more than $1 million in damage. The cause has never been determined, but the fire is officially listed as being of "suspicious origin."

Stanford Police Capt. Raoul Niemeyer said Jurian was "an extremely personable and knowledgeable man.

"He was always laughing, always congenial," Niemeyer said. "I never saw the man angry."

Niemeyer said Jurian "knew everyone in, and knew everything about, Stanford and the contiguous community. He knew the dynamics, he knew the people, he knew the politics. When you needed advice, it was Frank you talked to, and he always gave very sound advice."

Niemeyer described Jurian as a "hands-on boss who was always committed to doing the job right, and who provided his personnel with the tools they needed to do the job right. He always made sure they had the best equipment available."

Jurian was a 20-year member of the Tele- Communications Association, and served as its director for four years. He received the E.E. Pesamento Memorial Award for his contributions to the advancement of the association.

When Stanford merged its fire services with the city of Palo Alto's fire department in 1976, Jurian was appointed assistant director of public safety for the university. He served in that capacity until 1990, when he was named Fire Chief Emeritus by then-President Donald Kennedy, on the recommendation of Marvin Herrington, director of public safety.

He remained active after retirement, acting as liaison for the university, the Palo Alto Fire Department, Stanford Hospital and Cowell Student Health Service for medical services at football games and other large public events. He coordinated medical services for such events as the Super Bowl in 1985, the Olympic soccer matches in 1984 and the World Cup last year. He was an avid fan of Cardinal football and enjoyed working the games, Niemeyer said.

"You could always find him at the football games, on the northeast sideline near the goal line, with his communication headgear on," Niemeyer said.

Jurian was born and raised in Portola Valley, Calif., and lived on the Stanford campus since 1962. He is survived by his wife of 47 years, Fred-a; two sons, Andy and Michael; a sister, Ellen Wiecheat; and four grandchildren.

Fred-a Jurian retired in 1988 after a 27-year career at Stanford University, including 25 years as secretary to physics Nobel Laureate Arthur Schawlow.

Donations in Jurian's memory can be made to MidPeninsula HomeCare and Hospice, 201 San Antonio Road, Suite 135, Mountain View, California 94040.



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