Grand show of support as St. Louis firefighter Rodney Heard is laid to rest


ST. LOUIS – An emotional day for many as St. Louis firefighter Rodney Heard is laid to rest. 

“He dedicated his life and committed his career to serving and protecting the citizens of the city of St. Louis,” said St. Louis Fire Chief Dennis Jenkerson.

Heard died June 15 and was a member of the department for 22 years. He was 56.

“At any time of day and night, no matter the nature of the call, be it difficulty breathing, an auto accident, a report of a fire in a building with children trapped, firefighter Heard lived to help others in their time of need,”

Missouri Governor Mike Parson ordered flags at fire stations across Missouri to fly at half staff Monday in Heard’s honor. The order also call for flags to fly at half staff at the Firefighters Memorial in Poelker Park and at government buildings in the City of St. Louis.

New Spring Church in Bellefontaine Neighbors hosted visitation and funeral services Monday morning. Heard was buried at Memorial Park Cemetery on Lucas and Hunt Boulevard.

“I believe Rodney knew his purpose in life was to help. He wanted to help everyone he came in contact with,” said firefighter and colleague Demetrius “Al” Alfred. “He was proud and he served his community, bringing compassion and hope.” 

Heard, who was affectionately called “Papa Doc” by family and friends, is survived by his wife of 23 years, their six children, and 29 grandchildren.

Those close to him say he was a deeply religious man, carrying a Bible with him to work and praying whenever he could.

A former colleague called heard “a family-oriented man and a rock-solid partner.”

“Rodney was a good guy,” Alfred said. “If you talk to anybody that wears the uniform or anybody that knew him in the neighborhood, they would say Rodney was a good guy. He was kind and loving and always helped everybody.” 

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