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Retired Fire Chief Russell Mogel Passes
Sat. Oct 3rd 2020

Our condolences to the Mogel family on the passing of Retired Fire Chief Russell Mogel. Russ served as the city's 12th Fire Chief from February 20th, 1971 until June 6th of 1983.

The family will receive family and friends at 9:30 AM on Saturday, October 10 at Auman Funeral Home, 390 West Neversink Rd, Reiffton PA 19606. Graveside services with full Fire Department and Military Honors, immediately following the viewing on or around 12:00 PM, and will be held directly across the street at Forest Hills Memorial Park, Reiffton PA.

In view of the current medical crisis, social distancing and masks should be worn upon entering and within the funeral home at all times.


Russell P. Mogel 98, of Windsor Township, passed peacefully on Saturday, October 3, 2020 in his residence, with his devoted wife by his side. He was the loving husband of Evelyn G. (Burrell) Mogel. They were married on May 23, 1959 and celebrated 61 years of marriage. 

In addition to his wife, he is survived by daughter Joanne Kissling of Reading-wife of Wayne, son Russell R. Mogel of Bernville-husband of Beth, daughter Karen R Borrell of Hamburg-wife of Daniel, daughter Sharon Mogel of Bluffton, SC,  son Gary A. Mogel of Bern Township-husband of Karen, brother Robert Mogel of Conway SC and sister Bertha Winters of Reading. Russell was predeceased by his father and mother, Paul H. Mogel and Ruth L. (Moser), daughter Patricia Coogler, son Russell P. Jr, brother Richard and brother Roger.

He is blessed with 19 grandchildren and 14 great grandchildren, one of which is Tyler Mogel, serving as a career fire fighter in the Richmond VA Fire Dept., and a U.S. Marine.  He is the son of Russell R and Beth Mogel. Russell was a 1939 graduate of Reading High School and he attended Albright College and Wyomissing PolyTech.

He served in the U.S. Army, during WWII from 1944-1946 and received an honorable discharge. He worked as a metal chemical analyst at Carpenter Steel Corp for 13 ½ years. In 1939 he joined the Reading Fire Department as a Riverside Fire Company volunteer member. In 1953 he was elected as an Assistant Fire Chief for the City of Reading, ascended to the rank of Deputy Chief and eventually became Reading’s Fire Chief in 1971, retiring in 1983.  He was the owner and operator of Mogel Fire Extinguisher Sales & Service for 67 years retiring in 2017.

Russell was a state certified fire instructor for 45 years serving as an adjunct instructor at the states fire academy in Lewistown.  He and his father, Paul were the first father/son duo state instructors who taught countless fire fighters across the state. He was proud to continue this father/son tradition of teaching with his son Gary. Together, they instructed fire safety to many businesses and industries for over 30 years.

Russell was an avid hunter and fisherman spending countless hours in the local woods and streams. He enjoyed fly fishing the Snake River in Jackson Hole Wyoming. He loved the challenge of beating the video poker machines in Las Vegas, Reno and even Atlantic City.

He always lived and prepared for the future. His Development of the McKnight and Spring Fire station was a testament of that. It was built large enough to house the frontline apparatus serving that district of the city, as well as room for reserve trucks and a large basement for storage that the FD enjoys today. He had great intentions of building a similar fire station at 11th and Penn on the SW corner and was denied.

He was very instrumental in acquiring the location to what is now the Reading/Berks Fire Training site knowing the importance of continued education to better serve current and future firefighters.

In 1974 he designed the city’s first “Super Pumper”.  It had a 1750-gallon per minute pump and a 750-gallon water tank to protect, the then Dana Corp., Glidden paint works and the current Carpenter Tech properties. He figured that someday, if times got tough and the city reduced pumpers, it would have been able to handle a lot of challenges independently. He was in favor of the lime green color of fire trucks because of the visibility that it added while on the street. He definitely was ahead of his time He also was instrumental in the design of Reading Regional Airport’s very first ARFF crash truck back in the early 80’s.

Russell and the fire chief from York PA, started an organization which is known today as the Pennsylvania Career Fire Chief’s Association. He saw the need for the surrounding are chiefs, who were managing similar size departments, and who could benefit from sharing each other’s labor, personnel issues, firefighting tactics, purchasing of apparatus and equipment, among other things.


He was a member of Holy Spirit Lutheran Church, Reading, Lifetime member of Riverside Volunteer Fire Company, International Association of Fire Chiefs, PA Fire Chief’s Assoc, Berks County Fire Beneficial Assoc, Riverside Beneficial Assoc, Keystone Fire Company-Myerstown, Virginville Fire Company. He was also a proud and active member of Berks County Chapter of Trout Unlimited and Kempton Rod & Gun Club.

In lieu of flower contributions in Russell’ memory may be made to: Reading Fire Museum, 501 S 5th St, Reading PA 19602, Holy Spirit Lutheran Church, 421 Windsor St, Reading PA 19601 and Red Cross of Berks County, 701 Centre Ave, Reading PA 19601.

Thank you, Family Pillars Hospice of Bethlehem PA, for your kind and caring staff during this time.  A special thank you to Dawn, Becky and Latidia.

687 entries in the News

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