California Professional Firefighters

In Memoriam: CPF Second District VP Emeritus John Tennant

California Professional Firefighters joins Pasadena Firefighters Local 809 and the fire service in mourning the passing of CPF Second District Emeritus and former State Fire Marshal John Tennant. Tennant died this past weekend after a short illness.

Brother Tennant began his public safety career in 1972 with the Pasadena Fire Department, for whom he worked for 28 years, retiring as a captain. In 1985, he was elected president of Pasadena Firefighters Local 809, a post he held for over 14 years. He was elected as CPF 2nd District Vice President in 1994, and his plain-spoken demeanor and knack for “cutting to the chase” earned him the respect of the entire firefighter family.

Throughout his career, Tennant was leader in his community and the fire service. He served his profession as an expert on ladder truck safety and a labor instructor in the fire chiefs’ training curriculum. John also served as special assistant to state Senator Cecil Greene, helping draft legislation to strengthen the state building codes.

In 2000, John Tennant was appointed as the California State Fire Marshal. In that role, Brother Tennant earned a reputation for strict enforcement of the state’s fire safety building codes. In the aftermath of 9/11, Tennant helped secure $1 million in funding from the state’s Workforce Investment Act to finance the CFFJAC’s Terrorism Consequence Management training program – the first nation’s post-9/11 terrorism-response training to focus on the fire service.

“Throughout his career, John Tennant made a difference for our profession, whether it was as a firefighter, labor president or as state fire marshal,” said CPF President Lou Paulson. “Although he excelled at building bridges with management, there was never any question that his heart and his commitment always stood with the men and women on the front lines.”

John was diagnosed with metastatic esophageal cancer on Nov 21, 2013, passed on Dec 13, 2013, at home peacefully with his children by his side. He is survived by his children Shawna, Lisa, Brian and his brother, Mark Tennant. Dad said "he was a happy man."

Memorial Services

A celebration of the life of John Tennant will be held on February 5th in Pasadena. Details below:

Celebration of the Life of John Tennant

Wednesday, February 5, 2014 at 10:00am
Pasadena Civic Auditorium
300 E. Green Street
Pasadena, Ca. 91101

Class A or station uniform for fire service personnel.

RSVP to Pasadena FirefightersLocal 809:


Flowers are welcome and/or donations in John's name may be sent to Homeboy Industries, an organization providing gang intervention, rehabilitation and re-entry programs for at-risk youth.

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