Local Kinston Fire Department legend Basden passes away
Guy Basden shares memories at the Caswell No. 1 Fire Station Museum in downtown Kinston in a photograph taken in 2012. The former firefighter and local historian passed away Thursday. Photo courtesy of Facebook
A man who always gave his all to his community passed away Wednesday night.
Guy Basden, 82, died at the Veterans Home in Kinston. He was a former Kinston firefighter and local historian — serving in the former capacity from 1960-85 — who worked hard to preserve the Caswell Station No. 1 Fire Station, turning it into a museum in 1993.
In a Facebook update on the Kinston-Lenoir Annual St. Baldricks page, it stated, "With deep sorrow, we need to let you know that retired KFD Captain and former Fire Marshall Guy Nelson Basden passed away last night at the Veterans Home. Guy was also instrumental in founding and running the Caswell Station 1 Fire Museum. He was a dedicated supporter of St. Baldricks. So following tradition, the 2019 event will be dedicated to his memory."
Kinston Department of Public Safety Fire Chief Don Crawford said Basden was always helpful, even in his days of retirement.
"He was a good man who cared a lot about the community, especially with the work he did with the Museum and St. Baldrick's," Crawford said. "He did a lot of great work and anything he could do to help out, he was always there. He put a lot of time and effort into this community."
David Ricke, who became president of the Caswell No. 1 Fire Station Museum in December, said he learned a lot over the past 10 years by getting to know Basden.
"Guy was the life and blood to keep the organization going," Ricke said. "He was a big supporter of the fire service and we talked about the history of the Kinston Fire Department and fire service in general. It was important for him to preserve the history for future generations to know."
Jean Culbreth, treasurer of the Museum, said Basden provided plenty of community service throughout the years.
“He was always into something and you never would’ve known he was retired,” Culbreath said. “He started the Caswell No. 1 Fire Station Museum back in 1993, putting it together and rehabbing it with several community members and was also a devoted supporter of St. Baldrick’s. He was one of the first to get his head shaved and always brought family members. He also had a passion for baseball and could tell the history here in Kinston as far back as anyone can remember. He would even let minor league players stay at his home during the season."
She continued, “I remember once a month, he would go with a group of guys and visit Wounded Warriors in Goldsboro to cook meals. I was honored to go with him once and it’s amazing what the guys — all of them in their 70s and 80s — feeding victims of the war on terror. It’s very humbling.”
Hilda Byrd grew up with Basden in Jones County and said he always had a selfless attitude.
“He was a good man and a hard worker,” Byrd said. “He lived a very hard life growing up, nothing lavish. When he became of age, he joined the military and prospered physically, mentally and financially, and through that he did for others. He didn’t like to brag — he was very proud of the military and being raised the way he was.
"It was in his nature to help people because growing up the community did its part to help each other.”
Jack Strickland, who befriended Basden through their work at the Elks Lodge, said he was a wonderful, well-respected individual.
“He was a great person and loved to talk with you,” Strickland said. “He was a determined person and when he had the facts, you couldn’t tell him any different. The history of firemen was a big passion of his and he loved the military — he tried to learn everything he could.”
Visitation will be Saturday, Aug. 25 from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. with service to follow at Garner Funeral Home. The burial will be at Pinelawn with military rites. Family donations can be sent to St. Baldrick's at stbaldricks.org/donate.