Retired Red Wing Fire Department Chief Tom Schneider died unexpectedly Saturday, Dec. 8. He was 55.

Schneider began as a volunteer firefighter in Red Wing in 1984. In June of 2008, the City Council unanimously voted to appoint him chief following the retirement of Mike Amendolar and a brief stint as interim chief.

OBITUARY:  Thomas C. Schneider

The Republican Eagle reported in 2008 that before becoming fire chief, Schneider had filled numerous roles in the department, including captain, paramedic, public educator, code enforcer and arson investigator.

Kay Kuhlman, City Council administrator, worked with Schneider. Kuhlman told the Republican Eagle, "Tom Schneider was my friend and coworker. I greatly admired his many attributes and learned a lot about professionalism in fire service from him.

"Tom will always stand out in my mind as a dedicated employee, someone who was willing to give his best to the city organization and community. As a friend, Tom was kind, fun and always willing to help."

Shannon Draper replaced Scheider as chief when Scheider retired in April 2016. Though Draper never worked with Scheider, the two chiefs had a couple of occasions to interact.

"He was a nice guy, a really good man," Draper said.

The funeral will be 11 a.m. Friday, Dec. 14, at the Church of St. Joseph.