Services for retired Joplin fire chief and community service leader Harry Guinn, who died June 1, will be held Wednesday.
Guinn, 90, died in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, where he and his wife of 68 years, Doris Jean Guinn, recently moved to be with family. He grew up in Joplin and attended schools here. He joined the Marine Corps in 1948. After returning home from the service, Guinn joined the Joplin Fire Department. He worked for the department for 42 years, serving as chief for 15 years, before he retired in 1995.
City Council member and retired firefighter Chuck Copple joined the department when Guinn was the chief. Copple said Guinn was on the department during the construction of Northpark Mall and was the fire marshal who oversaw adherence to fire safety regulations of the building.
“He was a very avid family man,” Copple said. His wife and children visited the fire station periodically and said “he was always very supportive and knew that it was a family environment” at the department.
Guinn was an avid hunter and fisherman who would bring fresh fish or meat for the fire crews.
The former chief also had a way of correcting any missteps of his employees without saying a word.
“He was one of those people that if you were messing up or doing something wrong, he definitely had a way of looking at you and you knew, ‘Wait a minute. This isn’t right. It’s time to redo that,’” Copple said.
Guinn was regarded as a good Samaritan away from the department as well.
He was a longtime volunteer with the Joplin Association for the Blind, where he had been a member of the board until he resigned to move to Oklahoma City.
He spearheaded soup and chili feeds for several years that raised funds for the organization, said Stephanie Mann, director of the association. He also served in all the board offices including president, vice president and, most recently, treasurer. He also obtained the cooperation of members of his church, Park Plaza Christian Church, to provide Thursday night dinners for those served by the Joplin Association for the Blind.
“Pretty much everything that was done here, he was involved in it,” Mann said.
He also worked through Lions Club International to obtain services for the visually impaired in Joplin, she said.
Guinn was honored at a ceremony April 8 at the Scottish Rite Cathedral for 50 years of service in the Masonic and Scottish Rite organizations.
In addition to his membership in Park Plaza Christian Church, he served on the church board.
Guinn is survived by his wife, two sons, a brother and two sisters, seven grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.
A funeral service will be held at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday at Park Plaza Christian Church. A graveside service will be held at 1 p.m. at Ozark Memorial Park Cemetery.
The fire department will lead the funeral procession bearing Guinn’s remains in a firetruck.