Community mourns revered firefighter Charles Krahm


Charles “Charley” E. Krahm died on February 26, 2024, just weeks away from his 65th birthday. He was laid to rest on March 4, accompanied by honors from family, friends and firefighters during a funeral Mass at St. Agnes Cathedral.

Father Michael Duffy, the rector of St. Agnes Cathedral, celebrated his life, his spirit and his enthusiasm. “Thanks be to God for the gift of a good man,” Duffy said, urging everyone in attendance, “Let’s take inspiration from Charley and make our village and our world a better place.

Volunteer firefighters from Rockville Centre, Lynbrook, Malverne, East Rockaway, Lakeview as well as other departments came dressed in uniform to pay their respects.

He leaves behind his adored wife, Barbara, whom he referred to frequently as “The Love of My Life,” and his son, Andrew, an accomplished young man and fellow firefighter, who was the pride of his loving father’s life.

Among the bereaved is his lifelong friend and fellow Rockville Centre firefighter, James “Jimmy” Avondet, a member of the RVCFD Defenders Hose Company and the immediate Ex-Chief of the Department, who served as one of the pallbearers.

Krahm’s cousin, Tim Rooney, spoke lovingly of Charley’s special relationship with his son, Peter, who is on the autism spectrum. From a very young age, Peter took to Charley, who put him at ease with his sensitivity and warm personality. Their families spent many pleasant, recreational times together, from sharing a summerhouse on eastern Long Island to their travels across the western United States on their numerous ski trips.

Rooney said, “He just got him,” when asked what it was about Charley that drew his son to form an attachment with his older cousin.

John Murphy, another of Krahm’s cousins, remembered Charley’s concerns about the rampant loneliness during the Covid lockdowns. He came up with a salve for their situation, creating a Zoom cocktail hour and issuing invitations.

Murphy said it was “classic Charley Krahm,” acting in his typical, caring and problem-solving fashion—noticing people were in a lonely, dark place and inventing a creative remedy for their isolation.

Honorary Chief Krahm joined the Rockville Centre Fire Department’s Defender Hose Company No. 1 in September 1977. He was one of the most active members of the company and the department during his 47 years of service as a volunteer first responder.

Defender Company was much more than a firehouse to him. It was another home. Its members were his family, and he dedicated himself to making the company the best it could be.

There was scarcely a component of the functioning and success of a fire company or department that went unimproved or untouched by his efforts and dedication. He served in many different capacities with the company. He was a member of the Tournament Team committee, the Annual Dinner committee, Chairman of the Canteen multiple times and was elected the Department’s entertainment delegate.

He spearheaded the company’s fundraising, and the recruitment committee, driving its new website, video and annual RecruitNY event. As the chairman of the event committee, he organized the 125th Anniversary events and related efforts including the company’s new standard.

Krahm served as Captain of the Defender Company from 2015 to 2018. He was also a pivotal member of two campaign committees, and placed the new 2015 Spartan Engine into service as the new “445.”

Charley was not only a vital contributor to his company, but Department-wide. Without his initiative and dedication, it is possible that RVCFD wouldn’t have its Junior Firefighters program.

He formed the original committee in 2009, and after some extensive research, held the first Junior Firefighters meeting in 2011, where was a charter advisor and proudly served as co-chairman. The Junior FD were very near and dear to Charley’s heart.

Hearing about Charley, a letter was sent to family and friends from a long-time colleague with UPS, where he worked for 36 years. It reads, “Charley was loved and admired by everyone he worked with. You didn’t have to work with or for Charley to know him. He was a pure gem, a gentleman and a role model. Such a wonderful soul.”